There I was waiting to pull out into a busy roundabout one rainy night the other week when said trucker entered the lane next to me and without warning, pulled out, dragging his trailer right across my bows.
The next thing I knew, the rear screen had smashed, the back driver’s side lights had shattered and every side panel was dented, scratched and scraped.
Suddenly I began to learn what it was like in the real world for a busy fleet driver to lose his car.
The first problem was that the driver didn’t speak any English. Amazingly, a car driver behind me who witnessed the crash spoke fluent German – as did the trucker – and was able to communicate.
To my astonishment the truck driver started berating me and accusing me of causing the crash – a quite extraordinary claim as I wasn’t even moving at the time.
The police were called and took details. I left the scene with the driver still protesting his innocence and cursing the British in general.
As soon as I started off down the road, I realised there was some serious damage.
The car snaked from side to side slightly, indicating that the body had been twisted in the accident.
It was then over to our insurance company which took all the details. I pity the poor insurance man or woman who has to sort this little continent-wide tangle out.
Now, although I was able to experience what it must be like to be an everyday fleet driver, that’s where the experience ended. Those very nice men at Saab insisted on collecting the car from my house and within a week I was provided with an identically-specced one, although this time clad in a very smart metallic grey paint job.
I suppose if it wasn’t for my exalted position as a journalist, I would now be driving around in a Nissan Micra or a Ford Ka courtesy of the local bodyshop, while they twisted my Saab back into shape and welded on a few new panels.
The arrival of the new car allowed me to make a few comparisons with the old one.
For example, in the last test I had complained about the sticky catch on the tailgate, which needed the strength of a mountain gorilla to undo. I opined at the time that there must be a fault with the car.
Well, our new Saab is exactly the same so I can only assume that they must all be like it.
It’s all very well for fit blokes like me but my poor old girlfriend can’t manage to open that catch at all.
This moan apart, the Saab is quickly growing on me. I just love its ideal mix of sturdiness and style and who can complain about a miles per gallon figure in the mid-forties with a car of this size?
That engine really is a gem. Travel along a motorway at 70mph and you’ll find the motor is turning over at just over 2,000 rpm.
That not only leads to good fuel economy but also means the car is whisper-quiet on the move. I’ll be reporting in a later issue exactly how much it cost to fix the old car. One thing is sure – it isn’t going to be cheap.
Model: Saab 9-3 SportWagon 1.9 TiD 150 Vector Sport
Price (OTR): £23,495 (£24,885 as tested)
CO2 emissions (g/km): 164
Company car tax bill (2006) 40% tax-payer: £175 a month
Insurance group: 12
Combined mpg: 46.3
Test mpg: 43.3
CAP Monitor residual value: £8,675/36%
Expenditure to date: Nil
Typical contract hire rate: £444