One of my favorite authors, Anthony Loyd, describes being in an automobile accident in Africa…
A few miles before Makeni, the surface of the road improved and Twin put his foot down. The sun shone from a cloudless sky. We moved faster and faster. I leaned back and began to doze in the heat. The speed was hypnotic.
A report like a gunshot snapped me awake. As the jeep began to slew across the road my first thought was: Ambush. But there was no follow-up fire. A tire had blown. Twin, in the latest of his many mistakes in life, jumped on the brakes and we spun like a Catherine wheel. As we lost the road our momentum was such that our first roll was from end to end, hood to trunk. It ripped the entire roof off like a ring-pull on a Coke can, hurling the torn metal away into the sky. The smashing impact did nothing to slow us, and the vehicle continued to somersault across a wasteland of rocks and earth. It began to disintegrate. This was impossibly fast and furious, a series of momentous impacts as light, ground and metal whipped around me in a strobe, a sensation abruptly terminated by absolute darkness.
Consciousness reappeared in a single instant of burning urgency, carrying with it the immediate awareness that my eyes and nose were stinging with fuel. I was soaked in it. Upside down and wrapped in twisted metal, a state that took my brain some time to comprehend, getting out of the vehicle appeared a slow and complex challenge. After a few seconds’ struggling in my cage, unable to accept that my head was where my feet should be, I noticed that below me glowed a small area of paler shade. I crawled toward it and fell upon the earth.
Wow, I thought, standing up and feeling my body for signs of damage, incredulous at my apparent ability to walk. That was close.
There was blood all over the ground and I stared at it dumbly for a moment, confused, until I realized that it was dribbling down my wrists.