Today I nearly killed a child. That’s a pretty scary thing to have to write – and in this case there was nothing I could do about it, except avoid the situation.
On the way to work I popped in to the little supermarket to pick up a couple of things. No biggie. There’s a car-park right next to the shop for about six cars, and a bigger one on the other side of the (very minor) road, which is the one I use.
Coming back from the supermarket, there’s a family getting out of their car a couple along from me. There’s two adults and three kids, one of which gets put in a pushchair from the boot of the car. The mother (I assume) is managing the impressive task of talking on her mobile phone (which appears to be superglued between her ear and shoulder) while also talking to her partner, who’s getting back in the car.
To get out of the car park I have to reverse out and turn towards this group in order to get to the exit. You can see where this is going, can’t you?
Yup, reversed out, keeping an eye on the two mobile kids. At no point did the mother even move from what she was already doing. No call to the kids to keep out the way, nothing.
It was as I was turning that I realised the kid in the pushchair was still behind the car – about three feet away from it, so pretty much slap bang in the middle of the carpark. Fortunately I was keeping an eye open, and missed everything by a good foot or two. Even then the mother didn’t move at all.
But – And there’s always those buts in hindsight, aren’t there – what if I’d done the turn closer to their car? What if there’d been cars parked on the other side, meaning I couldn’t roll back as far as I did? That pushchair was low enough that I couldn’t see it out of the rear-view mirror, couldn’t see it if I’d looked round and out the back window. It was only visible in the side mirrors as I came round.
If I’d been driving much faster, done the turn much tighter, or not been paying total attention, I’d have killed – or at least impacted with- a child today.