The son recently collided with “What If?’
Somebody rear-ended him on his way home from work.
He left work at 7:30 AM. Four or five blocks down the 4-lane, cross-town thoroughfare, he realized he’d forgotten his drink thermos at work, and went back to get it. Back on the road again, he was soon humming along in the center lane, in light, 8 AM traffic. Suddenly the car, two vehicles ahead, came to a complete stop, to make a left-turn across two lanes of oncoming traffic. The car behind it slammed on its brakes, and the son managed an abrupt stop. He just had time to look in the rear-view mirror to see a windshield way too close.
Now the What If kicked in. What If I hadn’t gone back? I’d be home, safe, having a snack.
The other driver works in the next city, 15 miles away. He was also coming home after a midnight shift – a little tired, a little distracted, with perception, attention and reflexes a bit slowed. The son lifted the tailgate, and used the big, flat storage surface as a writing desk to exchange information. We both have the same insurance company, just different brokers.
Neither driver called the police, but someone must have. Soon, a sport-brute, Police power-wagon pulled up behind them, and Officer Zygote turned on his flashers and climbed out. The son said, “I felt like John Wayne in True Grit. Hell, I’ve got work-boots older than this kid. Is he really old enough to drive that thing?”
He spoke to the cop first. They were just finishing when a steady drizzle began. He and his co-worker passenger sat comfortable and dry in the back under the improvised awning, while the other two exchanged info in the rain. It’s not the vehicle damage that’s the biggest piss-off. The insurance company will pay to fix that. It’s the lost time, and bureaucracy.
Already 30 minutes behind, the officer told them that they had to go to the Police Accident Reporting Center on the south edge of town. The son dropped off his co-worker, and drove another 20 minutes to get there. With COVID, you don’t just walk in and report. There’s a sign on the door, instructing people to text an extension. You are assigned a number, and wait your turn. Thinking that there would be a delay, the son called home to report, and woke me.
He was immediately called in, and had to tell me that he’d call and explain later. Cute, little, blond, female, Special Reporting Constable took his report, and slapped a Police sticker on the bumper. She was impressed that he had all the necessary information at hand. Car accidents do not bring out the best in people. Many of them stumble in, not sure of their own name, much less the other driver’s, licence plates, insurance policy numbers, etc.
Now the clerical haze began to thicken. First, the son re-called me, and explained. When he arrived home, it was after 9:00 AM, so he called the actual insurance company. Then he called the broker, and talked to the agent. Then he called his passenger to tell him that he was now part of an official accident report, and might get a call from police and/or the insurance company. Next, he chose one of the two authorized repair shops, called them, and drove over for an inspection and repair estimate.
Damn these all-electronic cars!! Two of the three back-up proximity sensors don’t work. The impact is barely visible to the naked eye, but the entire wrap-around bumper may have to be replaced. A June-bug splat may take $2000/$3000 to fix. We might never know the final cost. The insurance company will pay, and the agents can argue it out.
On the way home from the body shop, the son heard a traffic report on the radio. We have a report of a collision in the center, westbound lane, Victoria at Chestnut. Property damage, but no report of injuries. Be careful in that area. The son said, “That was over an hour ago. I’ve been home twice since then. I always wanted to be on the radio, but not this way.”
Since the car would be in the shop for several days, he had to call a car-rental agency to arrange for a replacement. He took a pain reliever and a muscle relaxant. The wife told him to call the Chiropractor, who had an immediate opening, and took him in, but he had to later call the insurance company again, and speak to the Personal Claims clerk to get this, and continuing treatments, covered.
What if? What if?? What If??! Like the story of how a wasp in a car caused an accident and killed three passengers, such a tiny irritation has caused so much chaos and confusion.
We lost our handicapped parking permit. We took it from our car, and put it in the rental. When we returned the rental to the body shop, we both forgot to remove it. A week later, some woman in a parking lot got pissy when we pulled into a handicap spot. “Where’s the permit??” The repair shop staff deny ever seeing it. The young man from Enterprise, who retrieved and cleaned the rental, claims it wasn’t there. Today, we begin the arduous bureaucratic, and possibly expensive, task of replacing it.
Ahh yes! I’ve been in that situation. All the time wasted and the hassle with the police report and filling up the insurance claim form. But then I thought it could have been worse. Good thing only the car was slightly damaged and I didn’t get injured. 😌🌈
I am so glad that you weren’t injured. I carefully eased around, what looked like a simple fender-bender one day, and later heard that someone had died. 😯
Damn the bureaucracy – Full steam ahead! 😳
Yup, the bureaucracy is much worse here. It will drive you insane! 🙄🥶
Ugh! I’m glad your son was able to walk away and hope he doesn’t suffer any long term impacts. Likewise, hopefully, you and your wife can sort out the handicap permit snafu. May tomorrow (today) be better, Archon.
With treatments and meds, the son seems okay. The wife wisely decided that Friday afternoon was not a good time to visit the DMV. Perhaps early Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon. COVID restrictions eased here today, and it was like school just let out. She phoned Service Ontario – and the voicemail was full. We’ll take a folding chair and show up in person. 😳
What a nightmare. And a very expensive bump to be sure….
Our end of it ran about $2500 – $2020 for the car, $280 for rental, and several Chiro visits – but we don’t know how much time and money it will take to replace the handicap sticker.
Of course, we don’t know about the other driver and his vehicle – and whether Officer Officious charged him with following too close. They do like to flex their bright-blue muscle. 😯
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Even if Officer Friendly didn’t charge him, his insurance will punish him for having to pay out.
True dat. 😯
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Life’s a bitch and then you die.
Yup. If it wasn’t for bad luck. I wouldn’t have any luck at all. There are bad days, and there are
good daysnot so bad days. I’d have gratefully accepted another ‘not so bad day.’ It’s why I don’t believe in Karma. While would all this shit happen to a great guy like me?? 😕 😉
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Glad your son is OK. Happens to everyone, s**t that is. One’s world turns on a dime.
While this happened in broad daylight, the son says that he is now a little more leery about driving at night, especially in the rain.
On the far edge of town, where his plant is, the four-lane expands to five, with a center turn lane into all the shops along the Golden Mile – McD’s, Burger King, convenience stores, and pizza joints. No cross streets, and few street lights for almost a mile. Speed limit goes from 30 to 40MPH, and everyone does 50.
Going to work at 10:30 each night, at least once a week, he tells of noticing, first one, then the other, headlight of an oncoming car being occluded by a motel occupant, dressed in dark clothing, wandering over to pick up KFC.
The (few) sober ones are smart and quick enough to dance through traffic holes. He has a serious, valid fear of impacting an unseen drunk some night. 😯
Oh my. Been down the What if…? road a few times. I take the view – the hope – that all of the inconvenience meant something worse that could have happened, didn’t.
I hope you and your son are all sorted now.
The car is repaired. The son has ended his chiropractic treatments, and our handicap sign is well on its way to being replaced. In and out of the DMV in 20 minutes, and at no cost. We have a temporary replacement, which expires at the end of October. Production and mailing can take a couple of months. We returned the daughter’s to her, so that she can take it on a trip to see friends up north. All is well again, in the kingdom. 😀
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That’s good to hear.
Thanks for the update!