Don't get into an accident on the freeway...

Don't get into an accident on the freeway...

Getting hit on the freeway is one of my huge fears. The speed, the noise, the metal hitting metal at such velocity.  I am trying to blog about my experience, but it's proving to be a little harder emotionally than I thought it would. So I'm just going to put up the pictures and the details of what happened, and leave the processing of it for another day. 

On Tuesday, I left work at lunch time to run to Lowe's to pick up a ceiling fan that was to be installed that week. The only Lowe's was in Union City, about 10 minutes from my house. I stopped in, picked up the fan, bought a jigsaw, and a few pots for my seedlings. I got back in the Tahoe, headed home to drop off the fan and let my dogs out to potty before heading back into work. I had never been to that location, so I had used the gps on my phone to get there; I thought I might need it to get home, and so I had my phone in my left hand at the ready, but recognized the streets, and found the freeway without it.  As I was on the onramp to get on the 880 northbound, I saw a 30 gallon black hefty bag full of bottles and cans in the carpool lane of the onramp; I thought someone hadn't tied down their load, but at least it was only on the on ramp where people could easily avoid it. I merged onto the freeway, and mentally planned my route home.   (holy cow, I STILL struggle with remembering what exits to take off which freeways to get home!)  I saw another hefty bag on the freeway; I was in the slow lane, lane 5; the bag was in lane 4, ahead of me by about 3 car lengths.  The car approaching it saw it, swerved around it, and drove on. The car behind him didn't see it until the last minute; he hesitated, and finally swerved to miss it. Only he reacted too slowly, and over-reacted; he swerved to the left, and hit the semi truck that was in the number 3 lane; he bounced off the semi, lost control of his car, which kept turning until it was aimed directly at me. I braked, but it was too late. He drove directly into my driver's side door. I braced for impact, and was so incredibly scared. His momentum carried me sideways across the shoulder and into the guardrail; the force of my forward momentum carried both of us forward, ripping his right passenger wheel and tire off his vehicle altogether. I saw his car heading toward my door in slow motion; I was sure my legs were going to be crushed.  My airbag deployed, and between the site of his vehicle closing in on my left, the airbag in front of me, and the guardrail on my right, I felt like I was driving straight into my death. My airbag started to deflate, releasing a hiss of smoke. I knew I had to get out, I am asthmatic, and that chemical can cause an attack. I saw the other driver's head hit his steering wheel, and bounce back. I realized I had my phone still in my left hand, and I turned off the engine and pulled my keys out, and opened my door. It didn't open right, but it did open.  I got out, fearing the worst. I was so relieved to see him sit up, get out of the car.  I was in disbelief when he walked away from it. I asked him if he was okay, and he said yes. I asked him again, asking if he was sure. He said he was fine. That's when I saw the full extent of the damage. I saw his wheel and tire laying on the ground, between our vehicles; his bumper had been ripped off his car and was laying on the other side of the guard rail. The front end of his car was crumpled.  My vehicle didn't fair much better. The driver side doors were both pushed in; the front fender damaged, the front driver's side light hanging on by a cable. As I walked around the vehicle, I thought that it could have been worse, but the damage was just so widespread. I held my phone up to call 911, and hit the button. The screen didn't light up, which was odd. I hit it again, and that's when I realized that the screen was shattered. I still had it in my hand when I braced for impact, and apparently squeezed the crap out of it with my amazing GI Joe Kung Fu grip!  I asked the other driver to call 911, and they were there within minutes.  The semi driver had pulled over, and soon joined us.  And then an EMT vehicle.  We were both checked out at the scene; no one was injured, but my blood pressure did register at an impressive 164/114. And I felt like it was every bit as high, that's for sure!  We gave our statements to the officers, the tow trucks came to haul our vehicles away. I knew the drill, since I'd JUST been in an accident in February, so I told the driver to take mine directly to Sterling Auto Body in Oakland.  When we got there, the same investigator I'd worked with before was outside, so I said, "hey, remember me? I couldn't stay away!"  I had my iPad with me, so I was able to go online, start the claim with Allstate; within seconds of my finishing, Enterprise was there to pick me up to take me to the rental location. After another call from Allstate about the details, and I was put in a rental car and sent on my way. I cannot say enough good things about how Allstate handles accidents, twice in a row I have had the best service!  I drove back to Sterling to take pictures of the Tahoe, and to go over the damages that were caused from the accident with the claim investigator, then I went back to work to get my laptop, then went home. Where I promptly poured a glass of wine. 

Other than a headache the day of the accident, and a bit of a stiff neck, and a few shards of glass in my palm from squeezing my phone, I had no injuries. I could not believe I was that lucky.  The Tahoe wasn't as lucky. The claim isn't finalized yet, but today, I received the repair estimate. $17,501.  The only part of the exterior that was not damaged was the roof. I should get an award for that much vehicle damage in an accident where the people involved walked away with no injuries. 

The good news is that I had insurance on my phone, so $99 and less that 24 hours later, I had a replacement phone at my house.  My deductible was waived because it wasn't my fault, and because the other driver also has Allstate.  The bad news is that the damage repair estimate is greater than the value of the vehicle, so Allstate will likely declare it a total loss. The good news is that I'm already working on a new vehicle, and I'm kind of excited about it. Because really, I'm starting to think this Tahoe is cursed. 



Raymond Champion
I am glad that you are OK. I think you should still get checked out by a doctor and make absolutely sure, especially since you said you had a headache and stiff neck.

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