I have had some minor car incidents in the past. Black ice caused me to bump the back of a truck with minimal damage. I’ve been scraped by a car that tried to avoid rear-ending me. I had a van make an illegal left turn and smash one corner of my car…then run. But today was the worst I have ever had and hopefully ever will have.
Having typed this up already for some friends and family on Facebook, I am going to just recopy that post, but add some pictures and maybe some comments. Sorry if you are a friend on facebook and have already seen these.
Okay everyone, I am safe at home. Here is the scoop on my adventures in vehicular assault earlier this afternoon.
I was driving on 135th St after picking up Heather’s wedding ring, on my way back to my neck of the woods. I needed to stop and drop the wedding invitations in the mail at a post office along the way. Then I reached the intersection of 135th and Mission Rd.
Now for those unfamiliar with this intersection, imagine four lanes of traffic. The leftmost lane is the left turn lane. The rightmost lane becomes a right turn lane. The two center lanes go straight (and due to the rightmost lane’s change into a turn lane, it goes from a three lane road to a two lane road). I was in the left-center lane. In the left turn lane was a line of cars. Somewhere in those cars was a truck hauling a flatbed trailer. That truck appeared to have realized too late that they wanted to turn left, so they got into that lane. But due to their timing, the trailer was jack-knifed across my lane. I could see the light turn yellow and even though I had plenty of room, due to the trailer, I looked and then got into the right-center lane. I was good. I come to a stop.
The light turns red. I happen to look down right as I feel myself suddenly shoved into the intersection from behind. My body goes slack. I have always heard that you want your body relaxed, not tight, when in an accident. It reduces the changes of injury. It is one of the reasons why many baby’s in car seats will remain unscathed in accidents. They don’t know what is going on so don’t react by trying to brace themselves. I get shoved halfway across the intersection. Luckily, this happened before anyone whose light had turned green had moved or I would have been T-boned in my driver’s side door. I look back and start to realize what was going on behind me. Being in the intersection, I pull to the side and off the road. The car behind me comes to a stop after going through the intersection. I stopped and grabbed my phone. Scary huh?
At this point, I finally got a chance to see what really happened and learn just how lucky I was. The car behind me wasn’t at fault. It was the Town & Country Recycling truck that slammed into the car behind me that was at fault.
The middle car’s back end looked horrible. My back end absorbed much of the blow from their front end so their hood and front bumper didn’t look so bad. The truck driver was out checking on everyone. I called 911. I checked on the other driver while talking on the phone with EMS after realizing I hadn’t seen anyone get out of their car. I felt a little sore but otherwise pretty okay.
Police, EMS, and Firefighters came and did their thing. They performed wonderfully. My car had one tail-light not working, but both were out and hanging. The police taped them up and after making sure one was working, they gave me the okay to drive to the nearby hospital.
I got some info and the case number, took some photos, then checked back in with the guy in the car behind me. His wife was taken to the ER (he later called and they are okay). Soon, the truck driver came up. He admitted fault. He said he got distracted by the jack knifed trailer and took his eyes off the road in front of him. When he looked back, he realized that the two cars in front of him were completely stopped. He hit his brakes, but it was too late.
The doctors said I am okay. No evidence that I needed X-rays but it was good to be checked out. I am told I will be sore tomorrow.
Several geocaching friends offered help,but one wasn’t too far away and he helped me out (Thanks KVenator). We took my car to an auto shop recommended by my insurance. They think my car is pretty close to the value at which they would total it out.
So here I am…at home…shaken up…pissed off…tired…pissed off…looking at the mess I now need to clean up at home…pissed off…and waiting to see how this will play out for insurance and my car. Did I mention pissed off?
Through all of this, I will state that I do know what is really important…I rescued the ring and still got my wedding invites to the Post Office. O:)
A few things to note about all of this. Things that make me very thankful. Wearing my seatbelt saved me from some serious injury. I could have had a concussion from hitting the steering wheel or been flung from the car.
If this had happened five seconds later, just five seconds, I would have been flung into the middle of the intersection AND been T-boned by a second car right in the driver side door.
I live in a great community of geocachers. Within only 20 minutes I had four geocachers offer to come help me and at least two others who offered to get on the phone and find someone close to me who could help. I don’t have family in the area and my fiance was two hours away. Having friends like that gave me a sense of security.
KVenator helped by following me from the hospital to an autobody shop. One tail light was out, meaning if I made a left turn, all I could do is use hand signals. On my way to the ER, one driver saw me do that, passed me up and then looked at me weird. And this was as I was trying to get over to the turn lane for the ER itself. Guess they never learned the hand signals or put together that this car that looked like it was in a wreck and was using hand signals was pulling into the Emergency Room entrance. Then, after dropping off my car, he helped take me home and make two stops along the way.
I also found out that when put to the test, I was surprisingly calm. I could have easily turned into jerk mode, cursing and complaining and being just a complete hinderance. But I checked myself, grabbed my phone and called 911. I got out and after talking briefly with an EMS guy on the other end, I went over to the second car to report to EMS if they were okay. I helped out the cops, answered questions calmly, gave them a description of what happened, stuck around to make sure everything was okay, and in general tried my best to help however I could. And it took until a geocaching/astronomy friend commented that they would have been freaking just a mere 5 minutes ago (as I was loading the picture above) for me to realize how calm I felt.
It feels a bit bad to be thankful of this, but at least I was the front vehicle. I could have taken a lot worse damage if I had been the one hit by the truck.
I’m safe and without anything more than some soreness. I was lucky today. I think it is time for me to try and relax a little. My back still feels a bit sore so I’m going to go get an ice pack. And say a prayer.