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  • morganfagg


Updated: Nov 4, 2022

A car started beeping its horn aggressively behind the 657A Express bus from Pozuelo to Madrid and I wondered what the lunatic was doing, trying to overtake a bus at a t-junction.

He caught my attention trying to overtake us but then slowed down and I presume he or she spoke with the driver of the bus.

Without trying to over-exaggerate the dangers unnecessarily, or trying to downplay it either, we were in little danger of dying onboard the bus thanks to that driver's quick thinking and early warning.

We were warned and we were near a bus stop so we were due to stop anyways but most importantly, the bus was almost empty with several passengers onboard.

The express version of the 657 bus is a fantastic service but that same bus in the morning is wedged full and I have counted as many as 25 people packed into the aisles despite all the Coronavius signage saying that we should “mentega la distancia.”

Car horns are overused everyday of the week and I ignored the driver’s beeping at first as just being another aggressive driver on the road. There are so many terrible drivers on the road and many of them completely distracted by their Smartphones. I have even seen many bus drivers on their phones chatting away as they drive, some bus drivers secretly smoking up the front and one that didn’t see me on a pedestrian crossing because he was distracted and on his phone and one driver I saw reading a book, believe it or not, as he slowed approaching a traffic light.

Luckily our bus driver was paying attention and not reading a book or taking a look at his phone and again, I have to thank the car driver who made sure he/ she got our attention.

PAYING ATTENTION: Head in a book and an ear to the ground

I am trying to finally finish Ulysses by the centenary celebration on Groundhog Day 2022 and my blog The Groundhog Day Challenge, encourages people to share pictures with their copy of the book or share shelfies with their bookshelves full of Joycean books.

I hadn’t been able to find my earphones over the last couple of days and had been enjoying travelling around the city while listening to audiobooks and have tried to complete Joyce’s books over the last few weeks ahead of the centenary celebration in February. I haven’t been able to get through Ulysses on public transport as much as I would have liked but I have managed to make it though most of his audiobooks in recent weeks.

A girl further back, who was wearing earphones was completely unaware of any danger as she listened to her phone with her head down. When the bus driver pulled over and jumped out of his glazed cabin, he started speaking to people and I knew something was wrong. I looked to the back of the bus and could see smoke and started shouting “Fuera, fuera, fuera” to warn people to get out.

The girl didn’t hear or notice me as I made my way towards her and I grabbed her by the arm and pulled her out of her seat and guided her towards the front and off the bus.

Even if I hadn't I'm sure she still would have had time to realise that something was wrong, if she noticed the bus was suddenly empty, and again that driver's quick thinking bought us a lot of time, before the bus burst into flames.

Whenever I watch films, I always say, “Cars don’t explode” and while the bus soon turned into an inferno, we still had time to evacuate before it exploded as I would estimate that a full two minutes went by before the fire engulfed the bus and blew out all the windows.

Our driver inspected the back of the bus that was smoking and on fire and he stood out in the road and guided cars and people to keep their distance from the back of the bus as the flames began to spread and before the police arrived. I kept a safe distance and warned people approaching on the footpath that the overhead electric wire was probably going to come down as a result of the fire and it did of course but without as much as a spark.

As a volunteer lifeguard instructor with Water Safety Ireland in the past, I would always teach people about scene safety and I knew the overhead cables would eventually come down as part of the line was under the burning bus. I hope the cause of the accident is investigated because I fear to imagine what would have happened if the bus was full, and before I ever started listening to audiobooks on my morning commute, I would notice out of boredom, missing emergency equipment and one day, I walked the length of a train and every single carriage was missing their two emergency hammers. Seconds save lives.

Cars don’t normally explode like they do in films otherwise nobody would drive anywhere but raise your head up from your screen every once in a while, turn down the volume a little on your headphones and try not to text every five seconds while driving, keep your eyes on the road, and luck out for others. You never know when somebody might really appreciate you rudely beeping your horn at them.

NEWS LINK: The news shows a badly burnt out bus in this article but thanks to the driver and bus driver, we had plenty of time to evacuate

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