Thursday, June 05, 2008

If we all pull together as a team

I had some plans last Sunday, nothing too big but plans none the less. I was going to drive around to some of the older villages and towns in the area to do some photography, ending with a stop at a place Martin told me about where there is a really cool waterfall.

Needless to say, I never made it.

I took the company van out on the A8 heading east, all happy with the iPod playing and the sun almost shining. Stuck to the speed limit since I wasn't in a hurry, and even stayed in the right lane most of the way, just enjoying the drive. I hoped off the motorway, went through the toll booth and then it happened.

I was trying to sort out directions, the road signs over here are always that easy to understand, when I realized that I was going to go the wrong way. Instinctively, I turned right to catch the exit, but I had travelled farther than I had realized and had no room. I tried to turn back but the van was now on a bit of loose gravel and I slid into the guard rail. Crunch.

Of of that happened in about 0.5 seconds.

I wasn't going fast to begin with, maybe 60km/h, and by the time I hit, I was probably only about 30, maybe less. I crushed the front end of the van really well (it is all plastic anyway), as well as bending the front left fender enough that the door didn't like to open. Even with all that damage, the airbag didn't deploy, and I hardly felt the impact. Both the guard rail and the crumple zones on the van did their jobs correctly.

I managed to call Martin after Gus and Pedro didn't answer their phones (they were both out of town), and Martin had Jerome call me. Jerome was able to come and get me, but it was going to be an hour or so of a wait. Well, I wasn't going anywhere, so I just sat there feeling a bit upset at myself for crashing the van.

Nearly an hour later, after watching a number of cars do exactly what I had done, minus the impact, the Gendarmerie showed up to say hi. Luckily one spoke English, since I was a bit to messed up to actually try French. We went a half minute down the road to fill out a report and to make sure we had a tow truck coming to get the van. Jerome showed up a few minutes later to help me with the French, and we got things sorted out.

So, last I heard, the van is sitting at a Renault dealership in a place called Tret, and we are not sure if it is fixable. We currently have an ugly rental van (which somehow, I am stuck with...punishment maybe?) and not sure what we are going to do if we can't get the other van fixed.

At least I am okay, no damage done to me.