Friday, October 24, 2014

Not the way I wanted to spend a friday night

WARNING:  Fairly graphic description of a car crash follows.

Last friday I was driving home from a candidates forum along a local highway, and a pizza delivery guy turned left in front of me.  I hit him and the impact drove me off the road into two other cars parked on the highway shoulder.
2013 VW passat after collision
So for me it was a normal, quiet drive home.  I noticed two cars on the side of the road, on the shoulder, that were nose-to-nose, like one was trying to jump the other.  On a rural highway you see a lot of vehicles getting fixed by owners, nothing remarkable about that.  I could see headlights of the westbound traffic (I was eastbound).

I saw this guy turn a fraction of a second before I hit him; not enough time to hit the brakes.  I guess he thought he had enough time to make his left turn; and misjudged.  I think he's a younger guy, and I sure wish he had waited another 30 seconds for me to pass.

When I hit him everything went white.  I remember wondering what was going on until I saw the airbag deflate and I could see the shattered windshield.  It felt initially like I had done the mother of all bellyflops and I could tell I was hurt but I couldn't tell how much.  I could see one of the cars on the side of the road (a light truck) that I was resting against, and I wondered briefly if that was the other vehicle I'd hit.  I didn't know if it was.  but there it was.  weird.    I really couldn't draw a breath.  There was a white powder drifting through the drivers compartment.  i switched the ignition off, (not realizing that the battery, and the whole front of the car, was just gone) and when I did so I noticed I had blood on my left hand.  and I looked at my right and there was blood there, too.  I was wearing a suit and tie, and I noticed blood on my shirt.  I started wondering where all this blood was coming from.  So i kind of gingerly patted myself down, and wiggled my toes and fingers and didn't find any obvious wounds.  not a gush, more a drip, and seemed to be coming from my hands.    
My blood
My face and chest were covered with the airbag when the windshield hit my knuckles and cut both hands up.  I didn't see any bone showing, but it was hard to tell.
The car that turned left in front of me I think
  Dr. Leonard, an emergency room phsysician was driving to work and turned out to be one of the first people on the scene.  He talked to me a bit, and looked at my hands, and said "I'll be seeing you in about 20 minutes I think.  " and the paramedics got me out of the car on a backboard with a collar and I was in the emergency room for a few hours.  x rays and a presecription for muscle relaxants and pain relievers ("you are going to be very, very sore for a number of days" , said Dr. Leonard) and in truth the real pain didn't start up until about 4 hours after the accident.
takes quite a blow to bend the steering wheel like that.  no airbags.

after 3 vehicle impacts

Dr. Leonard said to me something that I heard very clearly.  "10 years ago this wouldn't have been a survivable accident.  You're lucky you had a good, safe car with airbags.  That car failed in exactly the right way to direct the energy of a head-on collision away from the passenger compartment.  You're very lucky.  "  Guys, I'd buy another passat again in a heartbeat.  probably will.

Most of a week later I can finally think about putting my own socks on again.  Separated rib, neck strain, back strain, cuts on both hands, intermittent back spasms...  It hurt any way I lay down, or stood up.  Tears-in-the-eyes pain.

I really don't know the extent of the injuries to the other drivers, I asked the paramedics but they didn't know either but they did say that no one died.  thankful for that.  Was amused to learn that the guy who caused the accident was insured by my insurance company, too.  Glad he has insurance, not sure how this is going to play out as far as claims go.  State patrol issued a ticket for something to the jeep driver; probably failure to yield.  insurance company accepted fault was his.

Kinda put everything into perspective.  I didn't think about the corn until today.


Anonymous said...

Wow, I am glad you are okay. May you heal quickly!

Bruce King said...

Thank you. I'm a bit relieved to be here, too.

George said...

Wow !! I am glad you are basically in good shape after such an accident. I had something similar years ago, side impact of my Expedition with a tractor trailer, luckily I was travelling at about 40mph when I was hit, so it could have been worse. Keeps me buying Ford Trucks though ! Take it easy

Anonymous said...

That's rough. Wishing you a full recovery.

Denise said...

Good reminder never to take life for granted. Glad you are going to be ok!

ellie k said...

We bought a new (to us) car last month and got about a mile from the dealer and was rear ended. Our car had two scratches and it totaled the front end of the other car. The young lady said she had rear ended someone two weeks before but forgot to tell the state patrol. We were cited because it was raining and we had to stop in front of her because the light turned red, it did not give her time to stop. No one was hurt, good thing, we had a hefty fine and four points against my mans license. Life goes on I guess. Glad you are ok and the corn is looking good.

grasspunk said...

I hope you get better soon and without too much pain or long term damage. Glad you also drove a modern car!

Bruce King said...

George: I've had 3 major accidents and two of them were were i was witting at a stoplight and someone ran into me from behind, and then this one. After the first two I started buying full-sized pickups to give me more feet of space,but this car did the job and at 50mpg... kinda sorry to see it go, but appreciate the job it did.

Curious; thank you
Denise: you're right. thank you

Ellie, that sucks. usually the guy that rear-ends you gets the ticket -- they were following too close. Sorry it didnt' work that way.

Brent: Modern cars are the way to go. I know people like old ones, but...

Throwback at Trapper Creek said...

Wow, glad you're okay! I just saw this. Thank heavens for new car technology.