It had just drizzled that afternoon. The roads were wet but not drenched with water. John was driving on the highway towards Gadong. Traffic was thin. Somewhere near the DST tower, John’s car was hit from behind, more on the right corner. On impact, the car turned 180 degrees and it faced oncoming traffic. Seeing a car coming from opposite direction, another driver in that lane hurriedly changed lane to the right. In the process, he hit another car which was in the right lane. This car had school children in the back seat.
Luckily no one got hurt and no one was taken to a hospital. Three of the four cars were written off by the insurance company and the mother did not send children to school just make sure they are OK. Eventually, the police were called and the accident was registered. In two hours, all four cars were towed.
When John asked the guy why he hit his car, he said that the tires of his car slipped. However, the answer was not convincing. John had a hunch that the guy was driving very fast, as John never noticed a car behind him in the rear-view mirror. Still, it was still puzzling why the guy was driving so close and so fast. When John narrated this story to his Bruneian colleagues, they asked him if the guy was young. They immediately concluded that the guy must be on his phone. And this gave a full stop to John’s innumerable hypotheses about the accident.
The story does not end here. The police could not record John’s statement because they were short of English speaking police at the station that day. However, the chief of that station immediately gave John some assurance that since the car was hit from behind, most likely John would be considered a victim. The chief also asked John to write down everything he remember.
John’s car was only two years old. The company decided to write it off as it was badly damaged. The insurance company took three weeks to convey this decision to John. This situation of living without a car and going about doing everything proved difficult for John, mainly because he is an expat in Brunei. An expat immediately means he does not have another car or family and friends from whom he can borrow a car until he hears from the insurance company. The public transport is not efficient or a convenient means of transport in Brunei. The only alternative left for John was to rent a car until he hears from the insurance company. John needed to fork out about 900 BND a month for renting a car of his choice.
After 3 weeks, the insurance company informed John that the car was very damaged and beyond repairs, they are going to write it off, means it will go to the scrapyard. After calculating costs, John decided to buy a new car instead of renting. After 14 weeks the insurance company settled his claim. John got 33 percent less than he had paid for the car.
When I narrated this to my friend who drives daily to and from Bandar to Tutong, she said that Bruneians drive very fast and almost every day she witnesses a car accident on the highway.
Overall the car accident turned out to be an expensive affair for John — only because a young guy was in hurry.