On Friday 10 September, we were on our way again, leaving Broome to head south towards Port Headland. We had spent a wonderful 16 nights in Broome and had thoroughly enjoyed it.
However, 96km out of Broome, it all became unstuck as we ended up the loser after our altercation with the highway.
Essentially, we caught a bit of gravel on the shoulder and in correcting our path on the highway, in our haste and surprise, we over-corrected and then over-corrected the over-correction . . . and as one of those principles of physics that I never studied at school took over . . . the momentum lead our camper trailer taking more control of the car as we lost control taking us careering down the highway for several hundred metres gouging dark black skid marks left and right on the tarmac.
The tribe screamed in fright, yet weren’t hysterical or maybe we were just concentrating as much as possible as those quick seconds that appeared to pass slowly until the car itself slowed to a stop sideways across the on-coming lane . . . but only momentarily since the camper trailer had not quite stopped, as it flipped over onto its roof, pulling the car over onto its side.
That final moments as we teetered for fractions of a second were like the bus in The Italian Job rocking on the cliff edge, though we don’t see the outcome in the film, ours was very real and over we went.
Luck was shining on us – strange you may think that I would say so, but hear me out – we were damn fortunate as we were all okay – not a scratch between us. Lucky also as there were no other cars on the road at the time. Yet within minutes, there were a few cars stopping to assist.
We were all okay – shocked, absolutely; stunned, yes. And the folks who stopped were fantastic.
Firstly, there was Les who helped put up a shelter to protect the tribe from the heat, who later took a ute load of our belongings back to his home in Broome. There was Peter and his wife who stopped long enough until other folks stopped to assist as they had their own car problems they had to deal with. There was the road train driver who parked his rig in the middle of the road and helped right our car onto its wheels and flip the trailer on its wheels. And the big thanks to John and Loretta who turned around and parked their caravan, pulled out the awning and helped look after the tribe as M and I sifted through our scattered mess on the highway.
It took the police over an hour to arrive due to our location, the ambulance longer, and the most anomalous of the incident, the tow truck arrived four hours later.
The thoughts of the police were that the car was a write-off. Similarly voiced by the highway cleanup crew, who happened to be passing on their way home to Broome. These are folks who see a lot of accident on these roads, so they have a depth of experience that would lend to their conclusion.
The repair shop in Broome also stated the same on the following Monday. However, our insurance company was not happy. They wanted a detailed quote of what it would take to repair the mess in addition to photos. And then they still weren’t accepting of the quote so they arranged to freight the car to Perth for a second opinion.
So, twenty days after the accident, the insurance company finally agrees, the car is a write-off.
On the other hand, our camper trailer insurers were happy with the information they had received and just needed to run through the formalities to accept that the camper trailer was a write-off - all within a few days. Easy to deal with, unlike our car insurers.