The actual drive back turned out to be somewhat of a trek. I happily was listening to podcasts the entire way back, as I do, which helps to pass the time. However, the A5, which is the main vein back to the area was closed off, and we were sent off in a direction unfamiliar to either one of us. My co-pilot-turned-pilot had been leading the way in his own car, and we swapped leaders when it came time for my maps to offer direction.
That’s when the fog set in.
The roads, as all the Welsh back country roads are, were winding, windy, hilly, and twisting. The fog was so thick that I couldn’t drive faster than 30 miles an hour in a 60 zone, and my co-pilot, driving behind me, could only find the way due to my fog light on the back of my car.
We weren’t far off from Blaenau-Ffestiniog, his house, when it happened.
We had been crawling along, him keeping a healthy distance behind me. I kept checking to make sure he was still there, and he always was.
Except when I looked back and watched his headlights lift off the ground and disappear.
I couldn’t believe what I saw. I slammed on the breaks, and looked back, searching for any sign of him. There was nothing. I knew that we were driving through country side, but I had no idea what was on the other side of the fog line at the side of the road. Was it level? Was it a cliff? Was it water? I drove back to where I thought I last saw him, pulled over, and ran out of the car, hoping that no other car was speeding down the road in the dark and completely shielded by the mist.
I called out for him, unable to see his lights, unable to see anything aside from the brown straw at the side of the road.
Finally, I heard him, and found where he had landed. His car was tipped on its side, the headlights and back windshield wiper still on, wagging away like a dumb dog that just doesn’t know any better. The edge of the road rose into a lip before dropping four or five feet into a thankfully flat sheep field. Glass was all over the grass, his windshield was shattered, there was blood on his pants–yet he was walking and talking.
After a lot of debate, we figured out that somehow the car tipped to the right, landing on the driver’s side, before rolling forward and eventually to the left, where he went over the lip, rolling several times, and over the fence into the field. He was fine aside from a few cuts on his hands and a stiff neck the next day.
Neither of us know how on earth he could have done it. We were driving slow, there were no corners, the road was downhill but without bumps. Yet it happened.
We were extremely lucky. He was in the middle of nowhere, neither of us had signal. We were able to get a little bit at the next village five miles away, call the police, and inform them what had happened. The next morning we found the farmer and let him know what happened, and he was kind enough to drag it out of the field, and wasn’t even bothered about fixing the fence. Everything turned out really well with all things considering.
This is an important lesson. We don’t know how it happened. These accidents can happen anywhere and at any time. When you’re travel, when you’re doing anything, you need to be prepared, to know the rout you’re going on, to have contacts for such occasions. There would have been little my co-pilot could have done had I not been driving in front of him. Always be careful, always be mindful of your environment.