Are you dreaming of an unforgettable birthday? Be careful, wishes come true. This is how I can sum up the “adventure” that happened to me on Christmas Eve in the town of Rzeszczótary in Lower Silesia. It was 5:45pm (as written in the police note) when there was a loud bang in the Renault Espace I was driving. I won't lie that I had time to respond or – at least – knew what happened. I just shouted “what is that” before the car started “pulling” to the side of the road. The first idea – a tire blowout – turned out to be only partially correct. A blessing in disguise – about 300 meters away there was a large distribution center parking lot, into which I dragged myself so as not to stand on the edge of an unlit road after dark.
However, it turned out that even though it was Christmas Eve, the car park was “buzzing with life”. There were already several damaged cars parked there and… a police car whose crew was busy taking notes. All the unlucky ones – just like me – had a hole in the roof that was 20cm deep. Judging by the amount of damage to other vehicles, I was lucky that I only ended up with a flat tire.
Armed with the flashlight on my phone, I went to explore it on the side of the road – I wanted to see up close what the place looked like, thanks to which I would remember Christmas Eve 2023 for the rest of my life. By the way, by waving my phone at oncoming vehicles, I tried to save the wheels (and vacations) of a dozen or so drivers. She picked up rubber cones lying on the side of the road, which police had previously placed in the hole to warn drivers. However, the hole was so deep that the “warning lights” did not protrude more than 40 cm, and oncoming drivers apparently had no chance to notice the warning in time and avoid the hole. At least that's what I inferred from the fact that I hit an “unmarked” loophole because the posts were lying in a trench. The brave crew of the police car stubbornly took to the road “on bombs” every quarter of an hour to install them again …
To my kind suggestion as to whether it was wise, for example, to stand in front of a roadside ditch with the signals on, one of the policemen said – quite logically – that he would not stand there all night. This is understandable – because, he added, they are currently the only police car on duty in the area. Makes sense, it's Christmas Eve. I have no grudge against the cops, they were busy taking notes for injured drivers. However, I think that a dozen meters or so before the pothole itself, a warning triangle could be placed by the police car, but – God forbid – one of the drivers would also hit it? It is very likely that the police will then have to purchase such a triangle out of their own pockets. Eventually, security was provided by two rubber cones stuck in the hole and wrapped in police tape. Was it enough?
Even before the police left the parking lot to prepare for the next incident, they were approached by a young man who, a moment earlier, had been searching for something under his Mazda 3 on the side of the road. Confused, he said he had collided with an unknown object. Lying on the road which – in part – is stuck in the car with a V-belt. When asked that the place might need to be secured somehow, the angry policeman said that he would soon be fined PLN 500 for removing police signs. That's right, the man crashed into a structure made of rubber cones and duct tape that was “perfectly visible from a distance.”
In the end, the so-called instructions were probably over, and the busy police car crew (without any irony!) went on to the next accident. As I mentioned, I have no grudge against the policemen, because according to Polish regulations, the road manager is obliged to secure the damaged road surface. In Poland we have about 450 of them, so identifying the correct addressee is not easy. However, the policeman reassured me that the manager had been informed of the events and – I am not making this up – “will secure this lot after New Year's”.
Quite simply – the police did what they could and went on to the next incident. Of course, in a civilized country there would probably be a “traffic ambulance” on site, but only large police departments have such vehicles and it is difficult to expect their crew to go into any ditch. In Poland, it is enough to stick two rubber cones into a hole and connect them with tape. The solution did not work well, because on the first day of Christmas, when I returned to the parking lot to pick up the test car, two cars were loaded onto trailers next to me, which I had not seen there on Christmas Eve evening.
As you may have guessed, the seven-seater Renault Espace does not have a spare wheel. However, the brand and model have nothing to do with it – no seven-seat SUV with a hybrid drive and big metal rims that I know of carries a spare in the trunk. In such cases, you can simply call for help. Well, unless you live in Poland and it's Christmas Eve. Immediately after the accident, I decided to report the damage under my car insurance. A nice bot on the hotline informed me that I could only do this online, because all the counselors…work on weekdays. Eventually, I was able to contact the assistance department who offered assistance, but in order to use a tow truck for example, it would be necessary to report the damage in advance. In the end, I waved it off, left the car in the parking lot, and went to “enjoy” the vacation.
Armed with a crane, stands and a set of wrenches, I returned to the site the next day. I wasn't alone there, as I had met a few “lucky people” the night before. Only after the wheel was removed, brought home, and inflated (the neighbors would certainly appreciate the roaring compressor on Christmas Day) was it found that the impact had created a hole of more than a centimeter in the side of the tire. So I got back into the car with the wheel and then “dealt” with the damage report.
Eventually, I even managed to call a tow truck. I wanted the car to cost 250 thousand PLN. He wasn't in the “field” for a few days, so I had him delivered to my house and I'll take care of the rest. Unfortunately, the procedures did not allow this, because, according to them, the car Musa Go to the website. Ok, if it's a must, then it's a must. The problem is that the shops are closed on holidays, so – finally – after two days in the parking lot – the car was taken to the dealership on Wednesday morning.
This enlightening adventure made me realize the source of our aversion to long-term rental services and our stubbornness in wanting to own a car. I have no doubt that driving there in a 100 percent private car I would definitely hit that hole because I couldn't see it from the deck of my $250,000 ship. PLN SUV with latest matrix LED headlights. However, in the trunk I had a spare tire, a jack and a set of keys. In the case of a rental car that must be returned, it will be difficult to rationally justify such an investment.
Let me put it this way – imagine you are trying to describe an event to a friend from Germany or Sweden.
– Don't have insurance and assistance package?
– Of course I did, but – you know – it was Christmas Eve!
– And in any way do you have any separation between state and church?
– Of course we do, don't ask stupid questions!
– She says the police were there when she hit the hole, but they didn't secure her?
– Of course she was there and of course she secured it. A rubber cone stuck in its middle. I told you – they brought it up for me several times!
– And no one came to secure this place?
– He came, he came – Already on the second day of Christmas there was a post with a flashing lamp there. It happened much faster than “after January 1”!
Why was the insurance company's hotline not working?
– She didn't listen – It worked, but the advisors didn't work. You can report the damage online or after the holidays.
-What if someone doesn't have a cell phone with internet access?
– Then let him buy it! And stop pestering me with these stupid questions. You won't understand anyway!
Today I drove there in my own car and stopped in disbelief. The hole has disappeared. It was temporarily covered with a layer of asphalt. However, judging by the number of tire covers on the road, there are probably a dozen or so cars that have had an adventure like our Renault. And those who have hubcaps. How many rims are made of aluminum or without hubcaps – I will never know.
Echo Richards embodies a personality that is a delightful contradiction: a humble musicaholic who never brags about her expansive knowledge of both classic and contemporary tunes. Infuriatingly modest, one would never know from a mere conversation how deeply entrenched she is in the world of music. This passion seamlessly translates into her problem-solving skills, with Echo often drawing inspiration from melodies and rhythms. A voracious reader, she dives deep into literature, using stories to influence her own hardcore writing. Her spirited advocacy for alcohol isn’t about mere indulgence, but about celebrating life’s poignant moments.