I have no objection to cutting corners when you can see clearly for a good, safe distance but what gets me is the frequency that we encounter COMPLETE IDIOTS cutting blind corners.

Good grief, I meant Sark of course ;-)

That was totally unjustified Norman, but part of the 'blame the victims' culture that does exist. I find it too often in my work. Just wish those who do it to hell my friend. 'Stuff them' seems like a rather mild, even polite response under the circumstances, my own would have contained a string of four letter words.

I find it hard to believe there are 20 million people willing to denounce others in France. There are about 64 million people if we include those not in official census statistics. That makes around 32% of the population and given that 18-19% are 13 and under, plus around 10% dotty for one reason or another, that means roughly half of all prime age people are informants! If she wrote three noughts too many then accepted, which would make France a pleasanter place than across the Channel.

Outraged yes but probably understanding.

Thanks Cate. I was wrong, accepted it and know that there is a generosity of advice, albeit very often at odds to each other, on this forum. In fact, as it is my family are away and telling a couple of cats or dogs doesn't work as well as 'she who must be listened to' over a cup of rosie lee. Of course I focused on myself, do not like the fact I did it either, and yes I agree we should be 'inconvenienced', although I don't actually see it as that but more a moral duty that I failed to live up to.

Anyway, you make a point that I did not have in mind but is very pertinent, that people will think about it and not only do as you say in opening but generally drive a bit slower themselves. Now I can get back to the work, the time for which I am frittering away and have the house cleaned and shopping in by the time the three women get home on Monday. I shall try to have a good weekend, well at least there is a vide greniers to distract me.

Interesting that I seem to be targetted as being an arsehole - so be it, won't be the first times and won't be the last. But read my post and note that the situation I was in was being a VICTIM!! I was the one hit and my family and possibly others could have been killed by an idiot! Do you really think it is sub-human of me to think 'stuff em'?

Start the moralising at the point of who caused the problem NOT those unwittingly get involved as Brian was, and I was. I really can't handle the 'armchair moralists'.

How sad to read Dominiques point of '20,000,000 Denunciators in France' If true, it says a rather lot of nasties about the French and maybe why such a Law is deemed necessary? I personally don't believe it IS true - or certainly hope it isn't.

Fine, accepted Julian, and no on one point. That is not about myself actually. In this world exceptions must always be made, circumstances dictate that more than laws ever can make them non-negotiable. That does not mean we have to accept things, which I did not of myself and so raised the issue in order to look inside myself. It is perhaps that little bit harder for me to square because I work in what is essentially human rights and despite what I try to do have been in civil conflicts where I have seen children shot (non-combatant adults too but my work is with/for children) but could not go to look to see if they were wounded or dead. I see their faces many years on. Each event like yesterday brings that back. I ran over a blackbird on the same stretch of road as yesterday last year, it flew under the level of the bonnet and I saw a bundle of feathers still rolling along the road in my rearview mirror. I can still point out the exact spot and feel bad about that, so squaring yesterday is not something that is going to be, 'oh well, a few people said nice things, now I can forget it'. I will feel guilt every time I pass the spot.

The final question is good Cate, but the cardiologists say it is OK; believe me I was too scared to even try until I had that from more than one of them. I have had very green lights on that but raised the question because of what I have had drummed into me about telltale signs and did the big beat I felt in my chest mean anything? Or was that the legendary 'skip' of the heart? It is simply that I am more aware of it than before. I have also generally become a very cautious driver, something I too should have learned many years ago. Also right, I would naturally have been furious had I been the accident victim, especially with my daughters. That comes into the equation when trying to square it up.

The problem with hindsight is that things cannot be undone, I feel bad about that but also wonder how many people do? I raised the issue here to see how other people react as much as for catharsis. As I said early on, the crash scared me and I reacted to that by keeping going. I do not remember, but I imagine I was as much scared by how close I was to being part of it since I was probably less than 200m from the impact. Travelling at 70km (it is a 90 km bit of road which horrifies me because it seems to justify 120km on occasion) and trying to react is, I imagine, easier said than done for a lot of people. I then told myself I had my kinési appointment which is entirely out of character, so had to question myself after. I think Catharine's point about the 'right' thing and given situations is right. On the other hand, I could have kept the whole thing to myself rather than expose myself to the risk of feeling worse than I already did very quickly and missed some of the rational criticism and advice that helped, for instance to make the phone call. I cannot change history, but I can at least learn, that is never too late.

Says much of how I felt after the event. After is always too late though.

I find that all rather judgemental. I have not excused myself and the gendarmes did not 'let me off' instead the one I spoke to was reassuring and helpful. I know full well about the legal obligation and it is in more countries than not, the UK being a notable exception. I have not only lived there in my life and so am probably as much guided by countries with compulsion than the UK where it is 'advised'. If you read the thread properly you will see I know the procedure pretty well, I have stopped in the past and have questioned myself about yesterday. Because I broke a shoulder I have limited movement in one arm, have permanent pain and would have been less helpful than you might imagine, so actual physical rescue would be out in all likelihood even if there was, for instance, a fire beginning in any of the vehicles. I also have a dicky ticker and I vaguely think I had one heck of a throb in it at the time, trying to react faster may have given me a nice little infarct too. All very speculative but probably subconsciously very influential.

So I have to stop! Try it out if it ever happens to you. Try thinking in the fraction of a second in that situation. You do not see any room for tolerance. That is extremely intolerant, in fact very preachy and as for ethics and humanitarian principles, they are an immense part of my livelihood and whilst the ethics are a question I asked myself yesterday, I have not the faintest what you mean by 'humanitarian' because it is an out of place word there since it means 'devotion to the advancement of the promotion of human welfare and social reform'.

Now try reading back over the thread and guess which person has been the least helpful?

I don't think we know how we would react to such a situation until that big moment arrives.

I recall about 30 years ago in the UK I was driving a company lorry (company markings & livery etc) along a busy road in town and I witnessed a lady on the pavement on the other side of the road forgetting to check the road and didn't bother to spot another 19T lorry coming towards her. The lorry, assuming she would wait carried on, the lady stepped out in front of the lorry obviously without a second thought and the lorry ran over her body with the front wheels and then her head with the rear wheels. I watched this happen from about 50 yards. The shock (adrenaline ?) was almost surreal. I couldn't stop with traffic behind me so I carried on the three miles to my house. I was shaking like a leaf and felt very frightened of what I had witnessed.On arrival chez moi, I called the local police station to report what I had seen. Someone had already given the details of my lorry to the police who asked me pop by and fill in the forms as a witness etc.

The young lady, married with a couple of young kids actually survived the accident but was in a vegetative state from that moment.

I should have stopped probably, I don't know. I didn't feel guilty strangely enough as there was nothing I could have done at that time to help the situation. I feel more guilty now probably...

My main concern was to exonerate the poor lorry driver who must have gone through hell - probably still has sleepless nights because of it...

Yes well, it seems quite clear that whilst we all know what we ought to do in a given situation, what we actually do is often quite different. We all like to think that we would do the 'right' thing but if we actually all did this, the course of history would be quite different!

I would have thought I would stop. That is the rational version. In the situation it now seems it is entirely different. Like Tracy earlier, I did first aid training years ago, we also did basic fire and rescue on top of it and that brought road accidents into both. I learned from those alone that one should stop, there is a kind of procedure that I know even. Stop before the crash on the lane to block oncoming traffic, put on warning lights, then go to see drivers and passengers, phone emergency services, etc... I have done it a few times and cursed the cars passing that did not even slow down, let alone report the accident. This time just the car speeding past me into the blind corner got at me somehow, then he hit the truck. My reactions were not sharp enough to stop, I could not think quickly enough. I may (possibly, but only a hypothesis) have stopped after the corner but I saw a slow car behind me and kept going. Wrong on reflection but try working that out at that moment in time.

As I said yesterday, after seeing what came up here I called the gendarmerie and all was OK. I am not sure it cleared my conscience but it relieved it a bit. Apart from hearing a bit from a passing neighbour, the gendarme I spoke to gave me enough information back to be reassured that nobody was really hurt. The big question is how I react if there is a next time? I would hazard a guess at getting it very right to try to make it up to myself.

The problem with not stopping at the scene of an accident to assist etc of course is the risk you take in being reported to the police for not stopping as the law requires. Would I have stopped ? Well, yes probably if only because I would have been scared stiff of being reported ! I can fully understand why you didn't stop and I don't have a problem with that but would you have stopped if, for example one of the vehicles involved belonged to someone you knew ?

I can imagine thinking twice about stopping maybe but in the event of me not stopping I would have to clear my conscience by reporting the incident to the local gendarmerie or police station later in the day when my head had cleared a bit.

Well done for talking about it, couldn't have been an easy decision to make.

You never know until it happens to you just how you wil react. Two years ago we were involved in a head-on collision with a driver who had gone to sleep at the wheel - at 11.00am? It was an older lady and patently shouldn't have been driving. It took place on a viaduct with traffic on both sides and literally nowhere to go but just wait for the impact. As Brian says for some people the time under such circumstances appears remarkably slow, and although I slowed as much as I could, the impact was probably about 70kmh, which doesn't sound very much but try driving into a brick wall at that speed and it is a different thing.

My car was a VW Passat, and thank God it was a solid German car, whilst the lady's car was an oldish Renault. Ultimately the Passat was written off, but remained driveable and passed as such by the gendarmes and Sapeurs who seemd to appear out of nowhere. The Renault was unrecognisable and how she survived I do not know.

Here's where the strange things happened. None of us in either car was physically damaged although the lady's car was demolished. Situations like this catch us by surprise and we can react oddly. My wife and her sister got out and rushed to the car which had ended up somehow behind us, and I have no idea other than apparently I had managed to squeeze a little space towards the oncoming traffic so we were hit more on the side than the front. They left to see how the lady was, whilst I was disentangling myself from seat belt, airbags etc.

I never went to the car, but for some reason started to do traffic control in the middle of the road, which I continued until the Gendarmes and Pompiers realised that I had been the 'other' driver, and came to fetch me. I remained abnormally calm, but totally disinterested in the woman who had caused the accident. There were multiple small and later reactions from my wife and her sister, shakes, tears and so on, but at the moment - zero.

If it had happened to someone else, I am not that sure I would have stopped, mainly because wouldn't have been any help at all - except possibly playing the traffic cop! At the time I was 72 years old, plus I have no medical or even first-aid knowledge, do not own a mobile phone and am 60% deaf - what on earth use would I be?, except possibly as a witness, and we all know how unreliable witnesses can be, despite the requirement for same officially.

Except for others being involved, I think there is a sneaking 'serves the bugger right' when we see the lunacy of some people on the roads, but when you get taken out yourself by an idiot, I am not too sure where one's sympathies lie, but certainly not with the cretin who created the problem.

Anyway in my case people 'stopping to help' under the law, would have been a nightmare on a viaduct and major road.

Even the Road authorities were getting people off and away as it was chaotic enough with just the rubber-neckers. If you are directly involved in an accident obviously you must stop, and if you feel you can help then do so, but where does the line get drawn? 3rd car back, 5th? 10th?

Anyway I know the gendarmes were used to unusual shock reactions, and were very caring - even though required to take the breathalyser routine. I can't believe in my heart of hearts that they would have been wasting time getting non-involved drivers tied down. A couple of near witnesses is surely enough?

I think French children are generally very well behaved. Consequently if told to "Stay there and don't move!" they probably will. However in UK I'm not so sure our kids are as disciplined.

We lived in kenya for a couple of years and the advice there was two fold: firstly if it looks like a minor accident then its probably a scam and someone will leap out the bushes to rob you if you stop. and secondly if it was a nasty accident the prevalence of aids made it neccessary to be extra careful, putting on rubber gloves etc before leaving the car.

Thanks, but that is part of what we are about and for that I am mightily grateful. :-D

Couldn't have said it better than Carolyn did. And big pat on the back for being 'big' enough to post in the first place xx

Thanks Carolyn, I think it was cathartic and suspect I unconsciously knew it would be. It steered me in the right direction too, thus clearing any bad conscience I might have had. As for therapy, well since my broken shoulder was not actually affected by it (thank goodness) that was a normal session but, as ever, needed if I am to be in condition for the joint to be replaced and at least two years of physiotherapy thereafter.

Law aside, I am sure you were shaken by this incident. It doesn't matter how much we put out good British stiff upper lip into action, underneath witnessing something like this is upsetting. Writing about it here is hopefully cathartic. I am really pleased to hear you were safe. You might have been looking forward to seeing your therapist before, I bet you really needed your appointment by the time you got there!