Tuesday, February 22, 2011

About that accident . . .

I think I finally feel better about things. It really wasn't a big deal. Nobody was hurt. My kids weren't with me. It was all just so stupid!

So here's how my Valentine's Day went from bad to worse. First of all, on my way to my midwife appointment (which I was super excited about, and apparently not paying attention to my speed), I got pulled over going 40 in a 25. The Chief of Police is the one who pulled me over (in an unmarked squad). He said I deserved a ticket, and he was pretty upset, but after he took my license and insurance and went back to his car, he came back a little more calm. He told me he was giving me a warning, even though I deserved a ticket. I thanked him and apologized, and told him I really was going to watch myself -- and that I was just on my way to the clinic and didn't realize how fast I was going (well, I did, somewhat -- but a lot of times, my "normal" speed has been 5-10 over, and any slower feels too slow). Anyway, so I got a warning. I was really watching myself after that. After all, just in October, I had a warning (same speed, same town, but a state trooper instead)! Prior to that, I haven't had a warning since 2006. No tickets.

So, later on, around 5:00, we had this stupid gift card to use up. It's for this local place that features pizza made in fire-ovens (or whatever you want to call them) -- anyway, we figured we'd never be able to take the kids there with us, and it's hard for us to get a baby-sitter, so I decided to call ahead and go pick up the pizza. On my way home, I was on a highway that is pretty busy at that time. I cane to a set of lights and stopped, and I realized that my lane was way backed up, but the left lane was relatively free. I put on my blinker and decided to get over, not realizing I hadn't left much clearance between the car in front of me and my car, so my right front bumper clipped his left rear. It was low impact (5-10 MPH), but a crash, nonetheless, so we all pulled over (his car also bumped the car in front of him -- luckily, there was no damage to her car). First, we made sure nobody was hurt, and then we looked at the damage. It was minimal. On his car, it was some paint transfer and barely a dent. He was nice enough to admit that the huge dent to the left of my impact was already there from an accident his wife had had, and that there was also damage on the right side of the bumper from someone hitting his car one night. My car (a 2007 Focus) had little damage, just a cracked plastic piece underneath the bumper. We did decide to call the police, who, when he got there, said it was a non-reportable accident because of the little damage. He did say that he had to give me a ticket (following too closely), but it was only $100.

Even the other driver was cool about it. He saw the worried look on my face, and I was on the verge of tears, but he said, "shit happens. It's okay" (I knew this wouldn't be my husband's reaction, and I could have hugged this guy for being so nice to me -- I mean, I just hit his car!).

Anyway, I called my husband and told him why I wasn't home yet, and he flipped out. The next day, he calmed down, and we realized that this is why we pay insurance. Yes, it was an accident -- yes, it was dumb of me, but I promised him I'd learn from my mistake. Thankfully, it wasn't much damage (although the estimate I got from the body shop for his car is $2186, but as I've been told from other people, they will always shoot high, hoping to cash in). The car was a '99 Malibu with 160,000 miles on it with prior damage to the bumper, so I don't know how they can expect me to pay to restore it to new. Everyone has told me to just let the insurance deal with it, and they will most likely not pay out that much, especially since the car probably isn't worth that much money. He said the body shop said that the frame was bent, but my boss (whom I consider a wise mentor) said that there's no way that a crash at that low speed could bend a frame, especially when there isn't even a dent. You can see on the image below (taken with my ghetto cell phone), that there is a big dent on the left -- that's not from me. Mine is the damage below where the bumper sticker was.

So, that's how I went from Ms. Perfect Driving Record to Ms. Crash, and I was really ashamed and feeling all sad and worried, but mostly just upset with myself. I hope it doesn't impact my insurance rates too much, but if it does, we are just going to drop down to liability only. Right now we pay $296 for 6 months of full coverage on our car, which apparently is a decent rate.


Heather said...

Bummer about the accident! But you are right, it was only an accident. They happen. Glad to hear you weren't hurt, and no one else was either. That's most important.

One thing: You might want to blur out the guy's license plate number on your blog... for privacy.

Birdee said...

Sorry to hear about your accident. So glad it was just a little one, but it's still upsetting and not fun.

C said...

I just came across this, Sar. I am SO sorry you had to go through all that- and on what should of been such a joyous day. I am SO glad you are alright. Big hugs, Mama!