Only a few friends of mine know about what happened on Sunday the 12th. Now, almost 2 weeks after, I decided to write an article about it. Mainly to share my thoughts and feelings, but also to revise what happened…
Well, let’s start at the beginning. On that day my parents drove to Lübeck which is at the Baltic Sea in the northern parts of Germany as they spent their vacations there, traveling by tandem bicycle to Bansin, that’s about 455km away. I traveled with them to Lübeck as I had to drive the car back home and pick them up again a week later after they reached Bansin.
So my parents went off for their vacation trip and I drove home. Everything was cool and I had quite some fun. It was my first time that I made such a long trip alone 🙂
I made a stop in Marienborn to have a short look at the memorial of the division of Germany because Marienborn was one of the crossings one could travel to the „German Democratic Republic“ (DDR) and the „Federal Republic of Germany“ (BRD) back before 1990.
I continued my way home as it was about one hour away from there. Unfortunately, or depending on the point of view fortunately, things got…uhm…bad after I passed the exit to Alleringersleben.
The car in front on me came to an emergency halt, so I had to hit the brakes. Luckily I got to a halt on time, same for the cars behind me. Since I was on the middle lane of the three lane highway, I pulled over to the left lane because it was free. I parked my car, grabbed my mobile phone as I saw smoke about 100m in front of me. I jumped out of the car, had a short look and saw fire. Without thinking I called 112 which is the German equivalent for 911 and reported the accident. I then grabbed the first aid box, locked the car and rushed for the accident to provide first aid.
As I arrived at the scene I saw already other people providing first aid. There were two unconscious persons on the ground, with two burning cars in the background. I approached the helpers trying to revive the unconscious persons and helped with the Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on one of the unconscious persons.
Meanwhile the cars kept burning and you could hear how the tires explode. I also learned some details about the accident and it turned out that the other helpers were quick enough to evacuate both cars before it was too late.
Soon paramedics, fire department, police and an emergency doctor arrived, taking over while we helper kept some distance, hanging on our own thoughts and talking with each other to make sure that everyone is fine. After maybe 20 minutes or so we were sure that the person I helped with the CPR didn’t survive. The other person was transported to a hospital by helicopter.
By then I also saw the other involved persons who had only minor injuries. They were also transported to a hospital.
I then asked a police officer if he needs me for something, like for a report or so. As I didn’t see how the accident happened, I could leave. The police officer said „thank you“ before I could turn around and had for my car. After what just happened it cheered me up a little bit.
The police allowed us to turn around and drive the wrong direction to the previous (or „next“) exit and I headed home.
Back home I called my parents, telling them more detailed about what happened because I called them earlier so they won’t wonder why I’m later than expected at home. I also called my grandparents…which I regret a bit because my grandpa didn’t really listen to me and 5 minutes later he called me again just to tell me that the accident was on TV and they reported that one person died….hello? I know about it. I was there. Please, I don’t need to know about it, I have to deal with myself now…
As you can imagine I was a bit shocked after this and it took me a week to get over it. The first night I couldn’t sleep much, the next night was better, but it took me a bit to fall asleep as I still saw the scene in front of me.
Today I’m fine, although I „smell“ the accident every now and then, like as I write this article, other than that…of course I think about it every now and then, but most of the time I forget about it and continue my life. After all I’m happy that I was able to provide help, even if it was unsuccessful in one case. I’m also glad that my reactions were fast enough that I didn’t crash into the car in front of me and that the driver behind me was as quick.
After thinking about what happened, I’m glad that every owner of a driver license in Germany must provide first aid. That’s why you have to attend a first aid course before you can get your license. Also, all cars must have a first aid box and I can tell it is a good thing. I just wish it was mandatory that all cars have a fire extinguisher. Unfortunately only some cars have them and only certain cars are forced to have one.
As I had to buy a new first aid box on Monday, I also bought a fire extinguisher. I think, after what I saw, it is not a mistake to have one in the car. Although chances are low that this happens to me again, I like the idea to be prepared.
What do you think? Did something like that happen to you? How are the regulations on first aid and fire extinguishers in your country, or what is your opinion? I think talking about this and sharing the thoughts and feelings helps a lot to deal with it. 🙂