So there I was (last week, before the snow!) minding my own business in the shopping centre car park, stopped in a long line of maybe eight stationary vehicles waiting for the front car in the line to turn into their chosen parking space when I saw a black Ford Fiesta backing out of its space cautiously. Charlotte was in the passenger seat and she turned to me and said 'I don't think they have seen us, mum!' I had come to the same conclusion at the same moment so tooted my horn to alert the driver that my Fiat (and the other eight cars he had seemingly failed to notice) were at his back. I expected he'd stop at that point but instead he pressed his accelerator fully down to the floor and flew at the side of my stopped Chuggy at a speed I had never seen a car reverse at!
Charlotte screamed, expecting the side of the car to crush her two legs. (It didn't, thank goodness). Léon, who was in the seat behind her, shouted 'Woah!', and Anna who was behind me burst into tears. I stepped out the car to see Methuselah himself step out of the Ford. He looked a bit like you'd imagine Basil Fawlty's grandfather might have looked; tall, grey, gangly, open-mouthed in shock. I was gobsmacked. 'What did you just do to my daughter?!' came involuntarily from my mouth before I calmed down enough to ask him his details. He looked surprised and managed 'I got mixed up between my pedals' before his wife ranted that he only had two given it was an automatic, so how had he managed to floor the accelerator trying to do an emergency stop!?
Anyway, he gave me his details, admitted all liability (in front of the witnesses) and trundled off (banished to the passenger seat) while I went about my shopping.
Chuggy's away now getting a new door and wing and I'm playing about with my free Nissan Juke hire car - I quite fancy trading the Ipsilon in for one of them, it's very nippy as well as feeling safe and heavy.
Interestingly, when I took my Chuggy to the coach builders for an assessment and a quote, the receptionist who was reading through my case told me that over the past decade she has seen a huge increase in the number of older pensioners in my area who run into other cars and then, because they are rather wealthy and they do not want the DVLA alerted to their little driving misdemeanours, come with the person they have hit and offer to pay their repairs and courtesy car cash so they do not need to go through their insurance. Basically they are paying to insure their car because it is illegal not to, but not reporting crashes so they don't lose their licences.
My elderly gentleman has gone through his insurance so will likely have to prove he's still trustworthy behind a wheel (I would say that if a pedestrian had been walking behind his car when he reversed, he'd easily have broken their pelvis or legs at the speed he hit me), but it is alarming to think the there are many unroadworthy drivers out there who are bypassing the system so they can keep their cars long beyond a point when they maybe should.
I fully realise that if you drive everywhere, losing that right is terrifying and isolating, but is it really as terrifying as potentially crushing someone's child against another car?