Thursday, December 26, 2013

From 60 to Zero in 3.5

Well, it's like this: on Monday night, I got in my first actual for-real car accident.

I was doing about 60 in the middle lane of the freeway.  Then the fellow on my right careened into the guardrail, ricocheted off, and slammed into into the right front corner of my car.  It knocked me into the left lane (though fortunately nobody else was near me.)  By that time he was veering wildly all over the road, and I was so scared he was going to hit me again.  I sped up to get out of his way, but something was really wrong with my car, so I pulled over onto the left shoulder and threw on my blinkers.  He ended up spun out and smoking across two lanes.

I ended up in the back of a patrol car. 
(Did you know the seats back there are plastic?  True fact.)

Things got more orderly after that.  I called 911.  The police came, and some ambulances.  They towed my car, and dropped me off at a Whataburger, where my sister collected me and took me home.  I got a good telling-off from the Dude for not taking up the medical personnel on their offer of a once-over, but I didn't hit anything inside the car and the airbag didn't deploy.  (Weirdly enough, it's my foot that's been killing me here, three days after the fact.  I can't figure that one out.) 

So everything's in limbo at the moment.  Car's got at least a broken axle, but we're still waiting to hear the full extent of the damage.  Really REALLY hope it's not a write-off.  In the meantime, I've been thinking a lot about how much worse it could have been, and all the little advantages that add up in situations like this.  You know, living in a town where you have family and friends who can come get you when you're in a pickle.  Having full collision coverage, so you're not wringing your hands wondering if you just had a $10,000 bad day.  Having the means to walk over to the car rental place after the fact and get yourself some temporary wheels.  Knowing that you have medical insurance, so you're covered if you wake up the next day with your head on backwards.

But what's really killing me is that I don't know anything about that other car.  Was the driver hurt?  Did s/he have passengers?  Were they wearing seat belts?  What caused them to lose control in the first place?  I must have sat there for half an hour, talked to the police four or five times, and it never once occurred to me to ask.  I just didn't even think about it.

Regardless, the police report should be up by tomorrow, so hopefully we'll find out soon.  We still had a really good Christmas with the the Texas/New Mexico branch of Team Thompson.  And even if the car is a loss, it won't be an insurmountable one.

It's just really weird, you know, to suddenly find yourself in a place where your second-to-second decisions are the super-vitally-important ones.  Weirder still to look back after the fact and realize that maybe you're not exactly the kind of person you thought you were.

At any rate, I know the holidays are stressful for a lot of my friends.  Hope you guys got through it with at least one good thing added to your memory banks, and at least one more to look forward to.  Y'all stay safe out there, and think a good thought with me for driver #2 in the meantime.

We just had a near-life experience, fellas.


  1. I'm so glad you're okay! That must have been terrifying, in the moment.

    1. It was! It is AMAZING how fast you can go from cruise-control to white-knuckled terror. (Thank you for thinking of me, though - it's been a lovely holiday otherwise!)

  2. Happy to hear you're safe and hope the other driver is too.

    It is good to get medical attention at the site of the accident. Should there be any residual problems later (like your foot that probably didn't hurt at the time) declining a medical check-up can be grounds for insurance to deny future claims (been there, done that, and had to pay my own bills).

    1. Dang, buddy - sounds like there is a story behind that! I will have to wring it out of you at workshop. Thanks much for the good thoughts in the meantime - accident report came through and the other driver wasn't hurt either, so it's (almost) all good in the neighborhood.

  3. Dang, Tex! I'm so sorry! I was off in super happy land at that moment...
    I'm glad you're ok and more glad you had/have plans and arrangements in place (ins, friends, etc.)
    Sounds like you reacted pretty quickly. My friend was in a car wreck last Sunday (22nd)... driving in the rain and slid out of control. He told me his biggest fear was the air bag deploying... and since he's an EMT, my pre-existing fear of air bags has been officially validated.
    Way to end on a Fight Club quote, by the way. Easily in my top ten movies of all times... (I should read the book already!)

    1. Jeez - now THAT would be scary! I think I'm with Chris Rock on air bags - they'd be much better if they were filled with jello instead.

      (And don't apologize for your well-earned happiness, but do go read the book! You know, in your copious free time...!)