Opinion: have you been involved in an accident that wasn't your fault? | Top Gear
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Thursday 8th December
Opinion

Opinion: have you been involved in an accident that wasn't your fault?

Yeah, but *have* you though? TG considers the complicated philosophical notions of 'blame, 'causality' and 'being rear-ended by a Transit'

Morning Simon! Thank you so much for answering.

I’m calling from the Collision Support Hotline, and I have a question for you. Have you recently been involved in a car accident that wasn’t your fault? If so, our team of specialist legal advisors could help you claim compensation of up to—

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You have? Oh, that’s wonderful. I mean, that’s terrible. Would you mind telling me what happened?

Stopped at a red light in your Corsa, uhuh, rear-ended by a white van, uhuh, uninsured driver, uhuh, off work for a month with whiplash. I know, I know. Awful. Seems to be happening more and more nowadays.

OK, if you’d like, I can start processing that through our system, see if we can you get compensated for your distress. But, before I do, just to check. When you say it wasn’t your fault, can you really, categorically, be sure of that?

Because – to toss out an example at random here – how long had it been since you’d last cleaned your car?

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A fortnight at least, uhuh. So there’s a possibility your taillights weren’t quite so visible as they could have been?

No, of course driving a slightly grubby Vauxhall Corsa isn’t worse than doing 50mph through a red with no insurance, Simon. Just trying to establish the balance of blame here. Just out of interest, what colour is your Corsa?

Grey? Yes, you’d be surprised how many people say that. Interesting you didn’t consider a more noticeable colour. Put it this way. If I wanted to get shunted by a Transit, I’d probably choose a grey car. But each to their own!

Calm down, Simon. Just trying to establish the facts. Let’s move on. Did you have a passenger in the car with you?

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You were on your own, I see. You didn’t consider bringing along an acquaintance? Another pair of eyes, someone to say, y’know, ‘oh look, there’s a plumber approaching at high speed from behind while also texting on his phone, best take evasive action’, words to that effect?

Not accusing you of anything, Simon. Just making the point. Fault, causality, it’s complicated. Butterflies and typhoons, all that. Like, couldn’t you have driven a different route to work that day? Or taken the bus?

Of course it’s a free country. But you can’t deny that, had you not been parked at that very set of traffic lights at that very time on that very Monday morning, you would not – indeed, could not – have been involved in that accident. There’s no smoke without fire, that’s what I’m saying.

I don’t doubt the whiplash was bloody painful, Simon. Still, we must own our choices.

If, at the age of – what age did you pass your test, Simon? – at the age of 18, you’d chosen not to learn to drive, and had instead, say, devoted your life to silent meditation in a Buddhist monastery high in the Himalayas, let’s be clear, there’s simply no way your Corsa, and indeed your neck, would have found themselves obstructing the otherwise unimpeded progress of a Ford Transit through that red light. It’s time someone started taking responsibility for their actions, young man.

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