Friday, May 14, 2010

There I was, just minding my own business...

To be honest, I am procrastinating. But I do have a story to tell.

The most excitement I've had in years occurred at 4:10 p.m. May 12. I sometimes get teased because in a line of traffic, I usually stop 3-4 feet behind the car in front. It paid off bigtime.

Traffic was barely crawling along. The street is only two lanes and needs widening. Texas, like most states in the USA, doesn't have money to build more roads for the increasing population, so congestion is usual. The speed limit is 50 mph, which means you can probably go the limit about 2 a.m.

The teenager pulling out of the nearest side street behind me didn't realize how slow we were moving, just that he had a space of clear street, and he began accelerating. Being an inexperienced driver, when he realized he couldn't stop in time, he thought to pull left, realized he had oncoming traffic, and pulled right. He must have been standing on the brakes.

I heard the screech, glanced into the mirror for a nanosecond before he hit--hard.
And without thinking, I jerked the steering wheel into a hard right and hit the gas, even as the crash propelled me forward. I stopped on the side of the road, about even with the front doors of the car in front. I missed it entirely. Granny still has some reflexes!

He got out and ran forward. "ma'am! ma'am! Are you hurt?" I told him I thought not. I was aware I had banged my knee and the seat belt had burned my neck. I got out my cell phone. I was trembling all over...I had just released mass quantities of adrenaline. I called my oldest son, the policeman. And my voice was teary. He ascertained where I was and said he was on his way. He told me to call 911. I was composed when I called them.

I knew it had been a significant fender bender. Debris was all over the highway.
My bumper was completely dislodged on the ground, barely attached on the right side. Trunk floor crunched, lid as well, but operational, lights and left quarter panel damaged.

The boy was driving a 5- or 6-year-old BMW. It was crumpled back to the engine block. He and his two friends seemed unharmed. We exchanged names and shook hands, and I haven't a clue what his name is. A chance sheriff's deputy passing by stopped and helped with traffic till the dispatched police officer arrived. It looked pretty spectacular, and for awhile, traffic couldn't move. Several people stopped, including a a couple of adults who looked like teachers from the nearby high school.

The police officer gave me the report number and said it would be on file the next day. He also gave me the driver's insurance info. I remember saying at least with the vehicle being a BMW, I didn't have to worry about the insurance.

Both cars were towed. I rented a car and went home. Two mugs of hot tea and a couple of glasses of wine later, I was relaxed. Slept well. Woke up without a twinge.
Found out in late morning that the insurance on the BMW was not in effect.

So there actually is a reason I've been paying car insurance for years, including uninsured motorist. I'm covered. And since I haven't had an accident in forever, my rates won't rise.

Now to cross my fingers that my car won't be totalled, because while a nice car, it is six years old. (Totalled means the price of repairs are higher than the agreed commercial value of the car, meaning the insurance company pays the current value, not the cost of repairs or replacement value.) I have a good chance, though. With care, I expected it to last 20 years. It has 14 to go.

And me, I'm counting on at least another 14 years as well.

Back to packing.


clairz said...

Scary, how something like that can just happen out of nowhere. Hope you continue to be well, and wishing the best for your car!

charlotte g said...

Thanks, Claire. Funny about the web--you have become a friend. Close on the house tomorrow. Toward the end of the month, I will be offline for a bit.

Deb said...

Vehicle accidents are horrifying to me! Glad you are ok and hope the repair estimate doesn't go high enough to "total" you! Good luck with your packing!