I smashed into another car on Friday. It was raining, the roads were slick, and when the woman in front of me stopped behind a left-turner, my tires skidded despite a heavy foot on the brake.
Not a fun experience.
When I approached her window and mimed turning into a nearby parking lot to exchange information, she shook her head at me. This confused me. She didn’t want to exchange info? I was in back, so I’m responsible for the accident, and she didn’t want to exchange info? She spoke, but her window was up. She lowered her window after I made the traditional “I can’t hear you” motion, and she whispered, “Get a banguba.”
“Get a what?”
“Get a banguba.”
“I’m sorry, I still don’t understand you. What would you like me to get?”
“An … ambulance?”
Shit. Shit o shit o shit. I didn’t have my cell phone. I ran to the auto parts store nearby, and noticed that their CLOSED sign was up. There were people in there, so I banged on the door. They looked up, but made no move towards me. Goldarn it. I banged some more, and made the traditional “I need to use your phone motion”, then I pushed on the door. It was open! It seems they had forgotten to change the sign to OPEN, so they were confused why I wasn’t coming in. I thought they were closed, so hadn’t even tried the door at first.
They called 911, I mentioned I didn’t want to seem to harrass the other driver, so one of them went out there to speak to her, and I waited inside (it was raining, remember) with them until I heard the sirens approaching.
First, the firefighters showed up (they always get there first). Then, the ambulance got there. Finally, the police car arrived. In each case, they looked at her car, they looked at my car, and asked if I was the one who needed their help. Her car was not damaged. Later I thought I may have seen a bit of paint on her bumper. On the other hand, my bumper was cracked, my hood curled up in the front, and my right front headlight hung off like an eyeball dangling from a socket. Nobody’s airbags deployed.
The first responders are professionals, so they spoke to me too, made sure I was OK, helped me keep it together (I was keeping it together, but my voice wavered, and I was on the verge of tears). One of them stayed by me while the others helped the other driver. He warned me that they would probably put her in one of those neck braces, and it would look terrible, but it was better to be safe than sorry — I shouldn’t freak out by what I saw.
The police officer was a nice guy; he told me the roads felt slippery to him, too; he asked for my papers, and suggested I wait in my car so I wouldn’t have to get wet. He explained to me that the ambulance was taking her to the hospital to be checked out for whiplash, no broken bones or anything.
When I got home I called the Consort, and he came home to hug me. I called the insurance and got that ball rolling. The person doing intake asked me if I had received a citation as well as the accident report from the officer. I hadn’t, but until that moment I hadn’t even considered that my problems could have been compounded by a ticket. (I wasn’t exactly thinking at all, I just tried to get home without getting into another accident; no left turns, no left turns!) The insurance contact person who followed up told me that when they pay out for damages, they have the other party sign a waiver, so that by taking the settlement they waived all rights to sue either me or the Consort. That was a relief, in all honesty. When everything that could be done had been done, when a body shop appointment had been made, I crashed (in the emotional sense). I shivered and felt cold. I cried, settled down, then would begin crying again.
I took an aspirin, ran a hot bath, and did nothing else for the rest of the afternoon.
Mostly, I was mad at myself. There’s never a “good” time to have an accident, but we still would be doing better if we didn’t have to pay out a deductible right now.
The car’s in the shop until probably Friday. I’ve rented a car for the first part of the week so I can get the girls to and from Halloween errands, fencing class, and music lessons. I still have to go pick up Trixie’s “tuned up” clarinet from the music shop, which is where I was off to on Friday.
I’m hoping this week turns out to be a quiet one, you know?