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I Have Never...

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Driving Day

"I Have Never been a guest at a Corporate Entertainment Event."

Tomorrow that's going to change. I've been invited to attend a racing day, courtesy of the kind people who have recently installed our very expensive new phone system. I figure that I'm really going by default - I've had no real input into the purchase of said system, but both the guys who have don't yet have their driving licences...

Now, don't get me wrong. I've been to these type of events before. With the big chemical company I mentioned a couple of days ago, life was one big round of corporate entertainment. The only difference is that I've always played the role of host. At various golf days, it's been me chugging around in the buggy, the back loaded with drinks and chocolate, dealing stuff out on the freeway.

I've been to go karting numerous times. As the sponsor. Plenty of people all around me (who I don't know) all patting me on the back and thanking me for my generosity. I've always found it a bit false...

Is it going to stop me having a ball? Hell no!

One thing, though. The last time I went to a day on a racing track, I wound up upside down in a BMW.

OK, maybe I should back peddle a bit. Now my previous company were (and probably still are) profoundly interested in 'Safety Driver Training'. Good sense for their people, or cheaper insurance premiums? You decide.

Anyway, it had been decided that we should all do skid pan training. There were 7 or 8 of us, my ex boss included. The morning had passed off without a hitch.

Then my colleague John stepped up to attempt the 'Avoiding The Box' maneouvre.

I should highlight here that the training company, in it's infinite wisdom, had assured our company that it would be 'perfectly safe' to use our company cars. Hence John sat in the driving seat of his own BMW, the instructor sitting next to him, me wedged in behind John. 3 of us sat at the top end of a wet runway...

We set off. The instructor was to motion for John to deliberately swerve (as if Avoiding a Box in the road). He did so. We swerved. John corrected, then over corrected. The car went into a spin, then slid sideways towards a rather more 'grippy' part of the road. The change in surface led to the car flipping and landing on the roof.

Unless you've been in an upturned car, it's difficult to explain what an alien environment is. Once the car had stopped spinning, my sole focus was on getting out. I'd seen far too many action films where cars exploded... I wasn't going to be in it if it chose to ignite. Here I was, suspended from what had, only seconds ago, been my seat. Now it was the ceiling. Reaching up, I unhooked the seat belt and fell to the roof. The door handle was also not really designed to be opened from above, but I was out in under a minute.

John told me afterwards that his first thought was if everyone was OK. He'd asked the question in the car, and had no response from me. Adrenalin must have kicked in. I was so focussed that any extraneous sounds had been shu out. The escape mechanism had kicked in.

There was a huge kerfuffle. We were both informed that we were not to drive home (let's face it, John couldn't as his car was now a write off). Everyone was asking us if we were OK. John was as white as a sheet. I, on the other hand, saw it as a situation to joke. It had been like a rollercoaster and as no-one had been hurt, I was heard to comment 'Again! Again!' Maybe not the best way to amuse your boss, who has just been faced with the possibility he might have lost half his sales team... and the definite fact that one of the company cars is going to have to be signed off with no comeback.

So, off I am to a different race track. I won't be driving my own car, though.

What's the worst car accident you've been involved in?

1 comment(s):

Someone rear-ended me coming out of my neighborhood. Fender bender, nothing serious. Nowhere near as interesting as being turned upside-down, but I think I can live with that!

By Blogger daftkitty, at 3:45 pm  

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