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When-in-Ireland

I'm still shaking

This morning I almost went straight into the side of another car on a bend.

I drive Jacinta into work and on my way back via Sunday’s Well I got a strong smell of petrol on the quay. It was raining with water pooling at the side of the road and the tell-tale rainbow of the petrol on the road was everywhere. It hadn’t been there a few minutes earlier and traffic was backed up going out of the city. The wrong way considering it’s the morning and we had been stuck for 15 minutes going in ten minutes previously.

Driving up a hill that’s been plastered with petrol is no fun. Other cars were getting stuck, we were stopped and people were getting impatient. I heard the beeping of a horn from somewhere behind me. We weren’t going anywhere and my view was blocked by the van in front of me. Finally the car in trouble started off again so I let go of the hand brake and pressed the accelerator. Nothing, I barely moved. In desperation I slammed on the hand brake again and took a breath checking my rear view mirror to see how much space I had. I tried again, the speedometer said 20mph but the car was barely moving. I heard an awful whining sound and slowly the car inched forward. Finally the tires gripped the road and slowly I made my way up around the corner. The road was clear ahead of me and I had another obstacle.

There’s a steep hill up and over Sunday’s Well and too late I saw the rainbow hues on that bend but I was committed. Slowly I advanced forward, turning the wheel with the corner but to my horror the car kept going forward, right towards a car. I stopped quickly. Thankfully the brakes held, switched off the ignition and hit the flashers before jumping out in case something had happened to my steering. No, the wheels were turned left but had been skidding on the slick petrol film on the road. I got in and abandoned my attempt to go up the hill, instead taking the longer route down the North Mall and up Blarney Street. At the top of that street were the signs of petrol again but it’s level ground and the road is more porous and didn’t present a problem.

I’m only now calm and not shaking. It gave me an awful scare and I’ll be heading into town a different way this afternoon. The Gardai were called and they had received a few calls already. I passed a Garda van on the way home so hopefully they were on the way down to direct traffic and help people.

I’m glad I’m home.