I Saw Death But Got Saved – By Worlanyo Adzimah

I didn’t know I might ever relate to Carrie Underwood’s platinum hit, ‘Jesus take the Wheel’, until I had to sing it myself. It was another long blessed weekend not without any incident though. Let’s see if I could recount the happenings!! And I hope what should have been a sad story could pass for some movie script of a sort. I am not the type who keeps dates in the head or dairies (I don’t even keep one). But on a day like Sunday 11th of March 2012 , I can’t say it would be forgotten in a hurry. 

I had a long trip from Kumasi to Ho to witness the naming ceremony of a  good friend; we are than brothers. It was fun considering I left Ho, in the Volta Region of Ghana, over a year ago. It was nice to see old friends again. And oh, you would would think a lot has changed in Ho within the years. One thing that blew my mind was the taxis. It blew my mind to see Toyota Corolla being used as taxis in Ho. I have been dreaming and saving for a long time to get one of those preferably the sports type. Call that Ho township ‘swag’ and you wont be wrong.

It was a great ceremony although i would spare you the details, ‘what happens in Ho remains in Ho.’ My best part was the singing of two hymns from my favorite “Hadzigbale”- the hymnal of the E. P .Church.  My friend’s mother-in-law made the event even more beautiful with her melodic voice. Giving the tunes to the hyms at the occasions made her sound like my teenage sister. Much love to ‘em ‘old E.P women’ who still have their melodious voices undefiled.

Before I got to Ho, the attentiveness, thoughtfulness and mindfulness of the trotro driver I picked from Koforidua to Ho is worth commending. He did what I thought saved our lives. His attentiveness made him realize that one of the brake pads was broken and so we couldn’t descend the “Koftown” Mountain. Though it slowed the trip for over 30minutes, (in order to get the brake bands fixed) a likely event of an accident was averted. I think if all drivers will be as attentive and careful, show a little concern, and not underestimate driving like this driver, most of the accidents that occur on our roads wouldn’t be recorded. 

Now lets fast forward to Sunday morning when I was to return to my base in Kumasi. I was supposed to meet with some friends in Accra to drive together to Kumasi. That was cool, because obviously, some few Ghana Cedis, which I so much wanted, would be saved to take care of some other business. After impatiently waiting for a very long time, all my friends finally got ready to set off. One of them said what I thought was a very powerful prayer asking for traveling mercies.

Thing is I have never been involved in a motor accident, to the glory of God! Oh wait a minute; I just remembered I had a minor one, at least compared with what happened today. It was with my dad’s Ascona. I had actually parked to receive a phone call and then BANG!!! I ‘received it’ from the back by one drunk 207 driver. It was a Sunday afternoon so guess what? He confessed “taking in something small” before eating “omo tuo” (rice balls). He begged for leniency which he got by getting the car fixed.

Something more serious happened on my way to Kumasi. I would have probably been writing a different story if not by the grace of God. If you use the Koforidua road to Kumasi, then you surely will know Tafo. It happened at the last town before Tafo. Our car hit hard into a “man hole” in the middle of the street, and there! The metal, I think they call it back axle, holding both tyres at the back broke. Both tyres got off the car. This sent our car heading straight into the bush across the opposite side of the street.

The car kept going and almost somersaulted. But thanks to that ‘tree of life’ which saved the car from a somersault. The scene was  horrifyingly horrible! The town folks came running to the scene. They all looked surprised and kept asking what I thought was quite stupid, “Did anybody die?”, “Are there any casualties?” One elderly man “foolishly” though said quite jokingly said he thought he was coming to help pull out dead bodies.

God forbid!! But seriously, that should give you a picture in your mind’s eye how bad the scene was. No one could believe we survived the crush. Tiring and stressfully, we managed to get to Kumasi safe and sound. If you say a prayer, remember to say one thanking God for my life. And always remember sincere prayer works!

Lessons from the accident I would like to break down and share….

God delivers His own – I only have one belief! And that is, to pray seeking for traveling mercies each time I am to travel. Check out why I think so. Before the accident, there was no oncoming vehicle from the opposite direction. We skidded off our lane unto the next lane where cars moved in the opposite direction. The driver tried to keep balance to avoid the thick bushes on the sides of the road. But he wasn’t successful until the car gave up. Now you are thinking about oncoming vehicles. There was none! A few minutes after we skidded off the road, cars started to appear. I got baffled.

I inquired from those who had stopped to check on us and they told us a truck temporary blocked the road for a few minutes which caused a little “go slow”. To myself, I whispered “God delivers His own”. If only that truck didn’t turn at where it did to cause this “go slow”, I bet you know I would be narrating a different story or wont be at all! That wasn’t all of it.

Another hand of God was displayed when one man took me just about 5minutes walk from the accident scene. There’s a big river, which was right in line with where our car got stuck by that ‘tree of life’. We were told of an accident that happened at almost the same spot. But these victims were not as blessed as we were. Their car sunk in the river, they couldn’t swim, help came too late for them and so the obvious happened. For the first time of the incident my eyes got soaked with tears. So you see God indeed, delivers His own. 

“Over speeding Kills” – You see, I like to speed. That is if only I am behind the wheels, so I don’t mind at all if I am driven at the maximum speed. I know a lot of people do same. I always get tempted to “close the gap.” I say to myself, “this road looks free why not close up?” I think those of us who are in love with over speeding forget we are using “machines” which can fail us at anytime and also forget that, we drive on roads with “death traps”, disguised as “man holes”! I mean pot holes, and “death hills” called speed ramps. Our driver was not over speeding. I didn’t have my eyes fixed on the dash board but I can say we were driving less than a 100 KM/hr. If not, I believe the story would have been different.

After the accident, and analyzing everything, I told myself indeed, “over speeding kills”. It does not kill because you are speeding, but rather kills because it is very difficult if not impossible to control an over speeding vehicle. During over speeding, if an “emergency” like in my case happens, you have a split second, if not less, to make a decision. And you are supposed to make that best decision by hook or crook if you want to save your life. You can imagine how difficult that would be.

Cemeteries are full of those who laughed off warnings about speeding. But well, if you decide to continue to laugh off “speed limit signs”, always remember the old saying “It’s all fun and games, until someone gets hurt”.

Seat belt – I never enjoy driving with the seat belt on. Like many others, “It makes me uncomfortable”. Yes uncomfortable because the belt sometimes cuts into my throat. But from this incident, I have come to know that if you need something out of reach, you should probably pull over or have a passenger help. Because in a crash the safety belt locks and holds you in place. This is exactly what it did for us the occupants on the car. – It held us in place. I have also come to know that, Safety belts are more comfortable than a hospital bed. Others give various reasons why they don’t need seat belts. Some say “I’ll never be in a crash, I’m a good driver.”

They forget good drivers get hit by bad drivers.  Some think seat belts are only good for over speeding drivers. So they care less about wearing them. Well, I have news for you. According to a report by the National transportation Safety Board, 80 percent of all crashes come at speeds less than 40 mph. So now you know! A seat belt indeed saves life! From now on, I pledge to always use it.

Comprehensive insurance – Now this is the best part of what I learn in this “blessing” disguised as a “misfortune”.  Insurance is a “good thing” that comes in a “bad time”. After the incident, and we all settled down in a different car we chattered to continue the journey, we then began to think of the next line of action.

Now since no life was lost by the grace of God, it will only be fair to worry about the damaged vehicle. We were all making wild guesses about how much it will cost to get the car fixed etc. One of us just asked the car owner in a typical “kumasi twi” – “did you do insurance?” The man said yes! We all sighed. But not so fast. He was asked whether it was a “comprehensive” or a “3rd party” policy? He confidently said “comprehensive”. For the first time a couple of us smiled. The man wasn’t sure why.

We were just happy for him. I would have been disappointed if he had a 3rd party policy. Because the little I know about 3rd party insurance policies, the maximum claim you could receive for your damaged car would be a paltry sum of GHC 1000 (USD 625)! That is when you get lucky and don’t go through the usual “go come, go come”. With comprehensive policy though, I can bet you will have something to smile about when you receive your claims. 

So my advice? If you decide to buy a car, please remember the saying “cheap things end up expensive ways”. When you buy a car, find a good insurance company, talk to a broker then pick up  no other policy than the “comprehensive insurance”. But hold on! Don’t get too excited yet because, “Terms and conditions always apply”!!!