Today’s story starts with hummus. Last Friday, I went to a party where hummus was served, and it gave me a hankering for my own, so I purchased some yummy tomato basil hummus on Tuesday during my weekly run to the grocery store.
On Wednesday morning, I decided that the lunch I packed for the day was insufficient and that the hummus sitting in my refrigerator would make a much better lunch, so I drove home—a ten-minute drive—and retrieved my tortilla chips and hummus. And I drove back to work.
The highway between Nixa where I live and Ozark where I work is only two lanes wide, and when get into Ozark, the speed limit lowers from 55 mph to 45 mph. Just after the 45 mph sign, there’s an intersection with a flashing yellow light.
This was the scene of my accident. It’s perfectly normal to brake along this portion of the highway because you’re supposed to slow down, so when the Chevy Trailblazer in front of me braked, I thought that’s what he was doing, and only braked enough to slow down—not stop. But this guy, who was apparently not familiar with this flashing yellow light, came to a full and complete stop.
And as my Blazer ran into this guy, here’s what I was thinking: What idiot stops at a flashing yellow light? Crap. I’m rear-ending him, so this is going to be all my fault. Thank you, Jesus, I’m not hurt. Jesus, please help me think clearly. Turn off the radio. Find my flashers. Am I in park? No, I’m in neutral. Let’s park.
Figure 1. Too much more damage and the Blazer’s air bag would’ve deployed. Eek!
By this point, the guy has gotten out of his car to make sure I’m OK, which I am. I’m just shook up. We drive to the next side street to get one another’s information and to wait for a police officer to show up. The guy isn’t mad; he admits he was wrong to stop like he did. Turns out he had been out of town and was going home to surprise his family. And he’s the VP of a local company, so he’s driving a company car.
An Ozark police officer comes, and he’s really pleasant. He takes our statements, runs our information, and understands this was an accident, so he didn’t give me a citation. Praise the Lord! And he told me not to let the accident ruin my day, which was a nice thing to say, but let’s be honest, how could it not ruin my day?
Figure 2. Duct tape really does fix everything. It makes Sarah’s Blazer drivable for short distances.
Since I’m less than a quarter-mile from my office, I drive back there to look at the damage and call my insurance company and get the ball rolling on resolving this whole incident. The bumper is rubbing my tire, but with a little duct tape, it could be moved out of the way.
No, I did not call Chris right away. First, I knew that if I called him right away, I would start crying, which would make the situation worse. Second, Chris would freak out regardless of crying, so I wanted to be calm when I called him. Third, I wanted to know what we needed to do next before I talked with him, so I waited about 45 minutes before making the phone call, and even then, he was on his lunch break with a friend, so he didn’t answer. His lunch ran late, and then he stopped to talk to his boss, and he saw my Tweet about the accident before he even checked his message.
Figure 3. Sarah’s Blazer sustains over $2000 in damage from a little fender bender.
I completely couldn’t focus for the rest of the afternoon, so I arranged for a repair estimate, which ended up being just over $2,000 in damage. Thankfully, we have full coverage on our cars and an emergency fund, so we’ll be OK. When I got home, I crashed (pun intended) on the couch and slept for 2 hours. And then I slept another 7 hours last night.
I’ve been on the phone with the insurance adjuster this morning, and we’re going to move forward with the repairs this week. We also have rental car coverage, so I’ll get a rental car while my Blazer is in the shop. I’m so ready for this to over!