9.07.2006

No-fault

The judge asked, "What do you plead?"

I said, "Insanity, your honour. Who in their right mind would park in the passing lane?"
- Stephen Wright

Same location (near my old house) on the same road (84-E), with the same weather (crappy late afternoon rain storm) as last year when the Bronco flipped over the median. Welcome to my déjà vu.

Not much on my mind, other than hypocrites and puritanical sensibilities, as I cruised along, hoping I wouldn't be too late for my dentist appointment. I played with my sunglass a bit, unable to decide if the clouds looked better darker. Lighter. Darker. Lighter. I noticed the car in front of me stopping suddenly, and quickly pressed down my own brake pedal as hard as I could. The anti-lock brakes worked like a charm as I skipped along the wet pavement, stopping approximately one inch from the car in front of me. PHEW!

My relief, however, was short-lived, as I glanced in my rear-view mirror and noticed the truck behind me, a Ford Ranger, was not having such an easy, stop-on-a-dime time with her brakes. She collided into my back end, pushing me into the car in front of me. Then again, with a jolt of the car forward and back, as another truck hit HER from behind. Domino Dancing in a six-cylinder.

The officer on a Harley eventually arrived, and we drove under the canopy at the Shell gas station so he wouldn't get wet (think Eric Estrada...plus 80 pounds). No one was hurt, fortunately, so he took the reports, while we joked and laughed and talked about how crazy hydroplaning was. I told them next time I was in a four car pile-up, I wanted to be at the front, in a truck, because my car was the vehicle that sustained the most damage.

What struck me most was that there didn't seem to be any anger or flying accusations. I don't know how the police report will read or fingers will be pointed, or if it really matters, but the woman that hit me apologized profusely. Repeatedly.

I'm from a no-fault insurance state (Michigan) so it's relatively simple: my insurance pays my damage, yours pays for you. Here? I'm not exactly sure how it works, and it all seemed to be rather hush-hush when I talked to my insurance agent on the phone, "Oh, I can't legally tell you who will pay the deductible, or if it falls under the collision portion of the policy."

This was the first accident I've had in over twenty years, so now I feel like I'm in a fancy restraurant with lots of people, waiting to see who picks up the bill.

4 comments:

Travel Italy said...

Glad to hear you are well.

Tony said...

What excellent writing! Sorry, I can't make you feel better about the accident, but IF I could choose the alternatives "not in your shoes", that you face--I'd rather know that I was a writer in control, than a hapless mass of metal out of control. The first condition is sustainable, the second can be repaired. No consolation, but then, no cats were hurt either. The picture carries the agony all too well!

Carol Q said...

Agree with Tony - great writing. (Loved the last line). Sure glad you weren't hurt but it breaks my heart to see that gorgeous car accordioned. And with all the driving you do, it is truly impressive that this is the first hit in 20 years! Your car isn't totalled is it?

CQ said...

TI: physically, great. Mentally? That's another story. ;)

Tone: I emailed Edgy Kay and told her I had to go to the body shop and the vet the following day - I thought one of my cat's had a broken leg. She said, "And was the cat with the broken leg in the accident, too? Not buckled in safely?" HAHA.

So, yeah, the good news is the cats are all safe.

Mom: I would have a complex with all these speeding tickets AND lots of accidents, but you're right...1 in 20 years isn't bad. Nope, the car isn't totalled but it's out of commission for about 3 weeks :(