Saturday, August 9, 2008

In my rear view mirror, I saw the cars rounding the bend behind me...

I was in a car accident tonight. I am fine. A little sore, but fine, other than an ache in my lower back. I was alone, driving on a busy freeway. I was traveling about 50 mph and suddenly after rounding a bend the lane in front of me was stopped. I had 2 seconds in which to realize that I had to stop. NOW. I braked. My car bounced and stopped within an inch of the car ahead of me. In my rear view mirror, I saw the cars rounding the same bend behind me, and knew with a certainty that they would not be able to stop. BANG! Then BANG!

Two cars behind me, suddenly all of us attached. Bumper to Bumper to Bumper. Cars were flying by. The cars that had suddenly caused the abrupt halt to traffic were gone. Vanished into the steady stream of cars headed south. I was able to drive my car over to the median. And the other two cars followed after several minutes of trying to negotiate an opening between cars to get across. We got out. The couple whose car hit me directly did not have a cell phone. I let them use mine to negotiate towing and insurance. Their car was not drivable. The car behind them was possibly drivable. I was lucky. I was able to drive away.

It's beginning to hit me. The adrenaline rush gone. Looking at the rear panel torn away near the bumper, the rear hatch door bent in, the side panel distorted by the gas cap. And now...sitting here, looking at the pictures of my children on my desk, my hands are shaking. My cell phone reeks of the woman's sickly perfume.

A few months ago, my sister was in a near fatal car accident. She swears by the cross she had on her dashboard. Back in May, when I saw her at my mom's 70th birthday celebration, she gave me a small bag of candies tied with a cross from her daughters' baptism. It is a simple cross with delicate lines. I decided to hang it from my rear view mirror a few weeks ago. It has brought me comfort. And tonight, well...tonight...I am swearing by it, too.


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29 comments:

  1. How are you feeling today? Sometimes, especially in accidents like yours, it takes a couple of days for all of the aches and pains to make themselves known. I hope it doesn't get any worse, because those back and neck injuries really are a...well...pain! I'm just relieved it wasn't worse...and I'm also hanging a cross from my rear view.

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  2. I'm so glad you're okay. Your guardian angel was definitely watching over your last night. When I see cars shipping in and out of traffic and people having to slam on their brakes behind them, I want to scream at the sheer selfishness. Because the ones that cause the accident will be able to drive away - they won't be touched. But the one who suddenly had to step on the brakes and everyone behind them are stuck with the aftermath. I realize this may not be what happened in your case but this rant has been festering in me for a while. Feel better!

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  3. The possibility of accidents in our heavily-trafficked area is something I don't dare think about, or I wouldn't be able to make myself get in the car. And don't even talk to me about bridges...

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  4. Wow- that's scary! I'm so glad that you're okay.

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  5. Oh my god, J, I didn't breathe the whole time I was reading this post. Just the other day this very same kind of thing happened on the 5 and three people were killed in the mess.

    Sometimes, no matter how careful you are and how good you are at driving, things are going to happen that you have absolutely no control over whatsoever.

    I am so glad you're fine, and I'm so glad your kids weren't with you in the car.

    I hope you're able to overcome the shock without much of a struggle.

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  6. I'm sorry this happened but I'm glad you're okay. It's scary to think about what can happen in a minute. Kiss your husband and your children. Take a lot of Advil. Rest.

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  7. Are you still feeling okay? Kim-D said what I was thinking, how it can take a day or two.

    So scary. (I was rear-ended at the same speed when my daughter was 18 months and with me.) Sending good thoughts.

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  8. You were so composed last night--I did not remember until this post about your sister's accident. That adds a whole 'nother level of scary to things.

    Keep taking deep breaths and have an easy day today. Good luck with all the insurance/car repairs stuff.

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  9. *Phew* you must have had an angel watching you dear!

    Thank God!

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  10. oh my goodness! so glad that you are alright!

    i've had many close calls - where my heart just stopped. and then sat amazed that i survived it.

    blessings,
    k

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  11. Thank God you are okay. Hope you're not feeling sore today though...

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  12. Holy crap! I am so glad you're ok, get thee to a chiro

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  13. Oh goodness! Thank God you are OK. That sounds so scary!
    I'd be shaking still too...

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  14. I'm so glad you're ok. It sounds like it's time for a jack and coke.

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  15. Thank God you are OK. How frightening. There are several places along my daily route where blind curves make this scenario posssible, and I always try to be careful...I am so glad you're all right.

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  16. So glad you're okay. I too didn't immediately think of your sister's accident. Bet you did. Thank God you were alone.

    Whenever you come to that short stop, the first reaction is to look behind to see who is/isn't going to stop.

    Breathe deep and take it easy today.

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  17. JCK, I'm so relieved to hear that you are ok, I'm sure that must have been scary, but what a relief that you are doing fine.

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  18. How terribly scary. I hope you don't have any lingering aches and pains.

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  19. Yeah for the cross hanging from your rear-view mirror!

    Yeah that you are ok!

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  20. I am so glad that you are okay! My husband rear ended someone (same situation - traffic stopped in front of him suddenly) on our vacation one year, and it definitely shook me up. Life is so precious. I always say "I love you" before I leave the house, or Jim does.

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  21. Did you tell us about that cross at CPK? I must have missed that part.

    I hope you're okay.

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  22. Oh heavens.
    So glad you are OK.
    So glad the kids were not with you!

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  23. I am sorry that happened, but I thank God that He protected you!

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  24. Oh GOD! I'm shaking for you! I'm so very very glad you're okay.

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  25. GAH! SO happy you're okay. Good lord, woman...you're making me nervous.

    And people (like my Mother in Law) wonder why I'm so anal about strapping my kids into their car seats so tightly.

    You just never know.

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  26. AND? Now it's Jack O'Clock. Never a better reason, I'd say.

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  27. Oh my God, That is a terrible experience. I hope you you don't got to much pain. What a scary experience you have.

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  28. Wow, that was pretty shocking. The car that caused the abrupt halt to the traffic should have helped you, but it's obvious he or she didn't want to take any responsibility. It's quite alarming how some people get into accidents like these because of bad drivers. Good thing you were alright.

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  29. Very thankful that your okay.

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