This is the kind of thing you really hope won’t happen when you move abroad and attempt to drive on the other side of the road. Particularly in Germany, where on some roads there is no speed limit, and you literally feel like you’re dicing with death when all you really want to do is pop to the supermarket.
I was coming home two weeks ago from a nearby town when I had a head-on smash on a major road with a woman probably doing 100kmph (just a leisurely drive by German standards). The force of the crash shunted our car backwards and into another two vehicles, leaving a somewhat chaotic trail of destruction.
I don’t remember the crash as I didn’t even see the other car coming. The last I remember I was preparing to turn left across the road and into another at a pretty hazardous junction (where I have heard accidents are pretty common). There had already been a car accident on the road I was about to turn down. Nothing serious, just a shunt up the backside, as the locals seem to love driving right up people’s backsides at high speed here, as much as us Brits like to moan about the weather.
I often wonder, why the hell are people in such a rush on the roads here? Particularly in Bavaria, where there really is nothing worth rushing too? It’s the first thing I noticed when I moved here. How crazy overly sensible, law-abiding Germans become once they get behind a wheel. And that’s really saying something considering I lived in Malta for four years. Where is everyone so keen to get too? Are there amazing parties on every day near German autobahns with free alcohol and sausages that us foreigners don’t know about?
From witness reports it sounds like our accident was actually my fault though, and that I turned across the road into the path of an oncoming vehicle that I somehow didn’t see.
One moment we were driving along without a care in the world, then, bam! The next thing I knew I woke up on the side of the road, with a load of strangers peering down at me, muttering sweet German. “Sie ist in shock!” one woman said. I looked to the right, saw our smashed up car and another person sprawled out in the road, and I realised there had been a terrible accident.
We all got off extremely lightly considering. I believe the other driver broke both of her legs and is probably still in hospital. I broke three ribs and suffered a bruised lung and spent a week in hospital. My 15-month-old son was in the back and he was completely unharmed, by some kind of miracle. It makes me sick to think that things could have been a lot more serious and I really have been counting our lucky stars.
The poor little mite must have been so traumatised at the time, but mighty Max has been his completely normal, happy and boisterous self since. Which is a right bugger when you’ve got broken ribs. The car is a complete write- off, and we only had third party insurance, but the money means nothing when I feel totally lucky to still be here and to have my son. I just hope the other driver gets better soon.
In England there are speed cameras everywhere, particularly in Essex, the county where I’m from. Here in Bavaria you certainly don’t see as many.
About a week before the accident I was walking through our picture perfect Bavarian village, thinking of how safe it is. “The only danger here are the roads,” I thought to myself.
I think I’ll be sticking to the train for a while.