So this happened 2 weeks ago. I was taking a taxi to meet a friend for a late breakfast. The driver was going much too fast. I’m wondering what his problem could possibly be to explain why he was driving so fast. Although I find the people of Istanbul to be fairly friendly, I find the taxi drivers to be most difficult to interact with. I’ve had plenty of peaceful rides in various taxis. But I’ve also had the drivers who quote me a ridiculously high price even though it would be half that price using the meter. I’ve dealt with the driver who attempted to flirt and rest his hand on my thighs. (I canceled that agenda quickly). I’ve had the driver who listened to the location of my apartment, drove us far enough to charge us some money while complaining about the traffic all the way, and finally ousted my friends and I from his car at midnight on a busy street IN POURING RAIN with no public transport options. We were fine. Just annoyed. And now, I’ve had this driver. He thought that he could ease his way around a city bus on a busy street. Meanwhile, there was another white car in front of the bus that was trying to pass the car in front of her. My taxi driver didn’t know to expect the white car. However in the split second, I saw it. I saw that we would hit the white car and possibly collide with oncoming traffic. I braced myself for what was to come.
I need to stop and let you know that I am fine. I walked away from this incident shaken up with slight whiplash, but not seriously injured. I’m really thankful that God took care of me. I was NOT wearing a seatbelt. That was foolish on my part. When the cars collided, I was knocked from the rear passenger side seat into the back of the driver’s chair. I remember screaming because I felt like it should have been worse. I think I screamed out of fear because there are lots of things that run through your mind when scary things like this happen in a foreign land. Here are some of those things:
- God please let me live. I don’t want anyone to have to call my parents and tell them that their possible worst fear has come true.
- OK, I’m alive. What do I do next? I don’t speak Turkish. I don’t know how to communicate with the drivers of either cars.
- Do I just walk away? In the states, drivers exchange insurance information. It is a way to follow up regarding payment for damages for both the vehicles and injuries. What if I have some kind of whiplash? Does my walking away without information mean that I can’t file a claim if I have an injury?
- I don’t actually know ANY emergency procedures in this country. I don’t know the equivalent for 911. I don’t know where the closest hospital is.
- I think that I should possibly get checked out at a hospital, but I don’t want to deal with the language barrier. I’m scared. I’m annoyed. I don’t want to Google translate my way through the process of getting help.
I am really grateful that I was not seriously injured. At the insistence of my family, I took off work the following day and visited a doctor, who prescribed meds for lingering headache and tension in my neck and shoulders. The accident did make me acknowledge some important things. I do need to know what to do in an emergency in this country. In the USA, the emergency number is 911. The equivalent for that here is 112. I hope that I won’t ever need it, but I’m glad that I know it. I have also learned to word for hospital and know the name of the hospital in my neighborhood.
There are some aspects of life in a foreign land that make me feel extremely vulnerable. This accident was one of them. I have to continue to practice trust here. I trust that God will take care of me. I trust my new Turkish friends to support me and help me on days like this when I’m unsure of what to do. That’s not always easy for me to do, but I’m learning lessons in humility day after day. I don’t know what happened with that taxi driver. I hope that he found a new profession. I also haven’t stopped taking taxis. I was in one earlier today. No matter where I am in the world, life happens. I deal. I move on.