After we have a solitary car accident, we are always asked to explain how the crash happened and we usually make a stab at making the whole thing sound heroic and beyond our control.

Once, on a press launch, a chap from Car Magazine stuffed an Audi 200
Turbo quattro Avant into a sturdy bit of Austria and was busy explaining to
anyone who’d listen what had happened….

“I came out of the corner back there and felt the back go a bit so I balanced the throttle and fed in a dab of opposite lock but you know how it is with four wheel drive cars so I ended up with a some understeer. I eased off the throttle which sent the tail swinging the other way. I held that for quite a while but eventually I just ran out of road.”

My first crash was a mystery. I had passed my driving test just 36 hours earlier so I knew I was brilliant at driving

Jeremy Clarkson

It all seemed very plausible until you looked back at his tyre marks which were still as plain as day on the wet road. They told us he’d come round the bend, jammed on his brakes and crashed having done nothing with the wheel whatsoever.

My first crash was a mystery. I had passed my driving test just 36 hours earlier so I knew I was brilliant at driving. I’d had one pint of beer, not half a kilo of cocaine, and while it was a bit misty and damp, you wouldn’t exactly call the conditions treacherous.

And yet. One minute I was going along and the next, the wheels had come off my Mum’s Audi and there was a dead sheep on the bonnet. How did it happen? No idea.

Many years later, I was a guest of Daihatsu at their test track in Japan. They gave me a Charade GTti and I set off for a lap that ended in a ditch with a car cut completely in half.

What went wrong? No idea. All I can remember was the man from the company responding to my apology by saying “Don’t worry. We make one of those cars every 23 seconds”.

Then there was the Porsche 928 in Wales. Lovely day. Lovely drive. Crunch.

Then there was the Porsche 928 in Wales. Lovely day. Lovely drive. Crunch

Jeremy Clarkson

Afterwards, the insurance company sent me a form asking me to explain how I’d buried a £70,000 car in a crash barrier. Naturally, I made up some crap about understeer and oversteer and how I was swerving to avoid some disabled children…..

But only because there was no box on the form marked “I haven’t got an effing clue”.

The only accident I could explain was when I was grass track racing in my Scirocco in the middle of the night after a big party. And the reason I hit a tree was “a champagne bottle got stuck under the brake pedal”.

I never told the insurers that.


Join in

Comments (111)
  • I was driving my old Eagle Talon down a small country road on my way to work one day. It snowed the day before. Little did I know I’d be in the the roller coaster ride of my life. The road curved and as I was turning the wheel, my car did not. Apparently I had been slipping on black ice. I couldn’t brake or accelerate, all I could do was brace myself and enjoy the ride. Well I spun around a little bit and then finally hit a telephone poll. Scared me a bit. My boss still wanted me to drive to work, even with the headlight dangling and a flat tire. What a fun day.

    9 months ago
    1 Bump
  • I was driving my step dad’s 1973 Chevy Nova in town and intended to pull over to park just past a side street. Being an expert young driver I signaled well in advance. Unfortunately the other expert driver waiting to pull out of the side street thought I was making a right turn so he pulled out and I broadsided him. Fortunately he was driving a Rambler American which was basically a large lump of solid metal so no-one was hurt. The only casualty was the six glass bottles of milk on his passenger seat. What a mess! I paid him $200. For his car and had it towed to the scrapyard then went home and made up a story why the Nova was shorter than it used to be.

    9 months ago
    3 Bumps


Our first Soulmate speaks to DriveTribe about love, Dakar and perfect drives
Happy Christmas Me...