It’s been a long time since I’ve been in a car accident. The last car accident I was in was about 13 years ago. My husband, who was then my fiance, and I were driving home from dinner on a cold winter’s night. The roads were slick and my husband saw a row of cars in front of him that were stopped for some reason. Luckily he wasn’t going very fast, so he put the brakes on, but since the roads were slick, he still slid into the car in front of him. It was a pretty small tap and I don’t think any damage would have been done if the SUV behind us had not slid into us as well, pushing us farther into the car in front of us and them into the car that started it all by stopping in the middle of the road for no apparent reason. No one was hurt and we all were able to drive away from the accident.
Then yesterday happened.
I had just turned out of my neighborhood and was on my way to the grocery store when I saw cars up ahead of me stopped so that the lead car could make a left turn into the church parking lot. I put on my brakes and since it was a little slick out, had some trouble stopping. I pumped the brakes like I’ve been taught and although I slid just a tiny bit sideways, was still able to stop in plenty of time without leaving my lane or hitting the cars in front of me. My stop actually left me with almost a full car length in front of me, so I was relieved.
Well, until I grabbed my tea and glanced in my rear view mirror to make sure it was clear. It was not. I saw the black mini van heading right toward me and I knew there was no way she was going to be able to stop in time. Even though I saw the impact coming, I was not ready for it. She slammed into me and my car jumped forward a bit. My head followed suit. So did my tea, my cellphone, my CD’s…pretty much everything in my car.
After the shock of the initial impact, I went to reach for my phone, which I always place in a holder on my dashboard, and realized it wasn’t there. It had been thrown onto the floor of the passenger seat along with the CD’s which usually sit in a nook near my gear shift. My steering wheel, dashboard, and windshield were covered in tea that I’d grabbed to take a drink from. It tea was in a travel mug with a pretty small opening, but the impact shook me enough that it was everywhere.
I got my phone and called my husband. I was only about a minute away from my house, but on a fairly busy road and I asked him to call the police for me. Then I got out of the car to check on the damage.
The back end of my car was pretty ugly. The bumper was cracked just about everywhere and barely hanging on. The rear panel was smushed in, which meant my trunk was pushed in. In fact, my trunk is pushed in so that both sides are now exposed to the elements. I can look into my trunk while standing next to it. My driver’s side tail light is busted as well. And there is a rather large dent on the upper part of the trunk. My poor car is not a pretty sight.
A police officer showed up pretty quickly. We pulled our cars, which were still driveable (hers did not appear to have a scratch on it), into the church parking lot. I think I was in a bit of shock. I understood what was happening, but I felt like I was working in slow motion. The officer asked me if I was ok and I told him I was. Within about twenty minutes we were able to leave and I went straight home.
Thankfully my children were not in the car with me. Not only do I think it would have scared them, but it turns out that I’m not quite ok. As soon as I got home and had a chance to process it all, I realized my shoulders and neck were sore and my head ached. I sat down in my favorite chair and pulled the heating blanket on me because I was freezing. It was a darn cold day and waiting outside with the accident for about 40 minutes had set a real chill into me.
When I’d thawed a bit and my husband got everyone some lunch, I took a big 800 mg ibuprofen pill to help with the pain. It didn’t.
I ended up taking 3 more over the course of the day and they did nothing to make me feel better. I took a few short naps and when I woke my headache was gone for about 5 minutes, but then it came right back. I’ve now had it for about 26 hours. My neck and shoulders are pretty sore too.
Luckily we are off school today, so I got an extra day to recuperate. I tried to get in to see my doctor, but she was booked solid, so my appointment is first thing tomorrow morning. I’m not sure what can be done, but I figure I should probably get checked out to make sure there’s nothing serious going on.
As soon as my husband gets home we are going to pick up a rental car. Although my car can probably be driven, I don’t feel safe making my 45 minute commute to work (with my two kids in the car) in it until it’s been inspected, which won’t happen until later this week.
So far I’ve spent two hours on the phone (two different calls) with my insurance company. I feel a little better about everything because the accident was not my fault, but I know it’s still going to be a real process getting it all taken care of.
I feel bad for the other driver. She was so upset. It was her son’s birthday and she was just trying to take him to a late breakfast at Denny’s. She had a lot going on in her personal life and was a wreck. I did my best to calm her down and tell her it would all get worked out. I know it will, but we both had pretty rotten days yesterday.