We are alive. And so is the gal in the other car.
And sometimes that’s all that matters.
Today was certainly an adventure, and we haven’t seen the end of it yet. We have more to get figured out tomorrow but I wanted to post this tonight while the details were still fresh.
A Normal Day
We had been on the road since 8:30 AM starting out in Georgia. Yesterday we left the trailer at a friend’s house in NE Georgia while we book home for the holidays.
While the Atlanta news was making a big deal over the snow, temps, and wind the expressway was actually in good shape. It was about 2:30 PM and we had just been discussing MsBoyink taking over the wheel until our destination of Louisville, KY.
The Accident - What I Remember
I happened to glance in the rear-view mirror and saw a car approaching behind at what looked like a pretty good clip. I was doing 60 MPH (we prefer to keep our speed down to save on fuel and not get so stressed while driving).
At first I thought this car was being driven by a wanna-be racer, waiting until the last minute to dive into the other land and zip around. Then I saw the car go violently left and narrowly missing our rear bumper.
I knew immediately that it was an unplanned move. I watched out my side window as the car went into the posts and cables that are in the meridian. I knew what was going to happen - it was going to overcorrect and come back across the road towards us.
I had two options; slam on my brakes and hope the car went in front of us or speed up and hope it went behind us. I knew there was more traffic behind us so chose the second option, but it’s a truck and not a Ferrari and I wasn’t quick enough to get out of the way.
The car hit our truck in front of the drivers side rear wheel behind the rear door where Miranda sits.
What I Don’t Remember
At this point what happened is unclear and no one who saw the accident stuck around to tell us.
We ended up heading into the ditch on the right side of the road at a 90 degree angle. What I don’t know (and none of us can remember for sure) is if the truck first swung to the passenger side, then I over-corrected and it swung back to the driver’s side and went into the ditch, or if somehow we went completely around before heading in.
I do know both MsBoyink and I had the same fear - and that was where the traffic behind us was going to go. I somehow (even now it amazes me) had the presence of mind to gun it through the ditch and get the truck through it and over on the small hill next to the ditch.
The next minutes were a blur of hugging my daughter, checking to see if everyone was OK, and becoming incredibly furious at this young gal who I think was both speeding and driving distracted.
There was a lot of room for her to see us before her too-late reaction and now I have a wrecked truck, wrecked clothing, and a hassle to deal with right before the holidays.
MsBoyink really stepped up post-accident, collecting strewn goods from the bed of the truck (other motorists did stop long enough to check on people and gather some stuff), getting kids situated, and me taking care of.
The Greedy Tow Truck Driver
The police came, the ambulances came, the fire trucks came. Everyone was great - with the exception of the tow truck driver.
I couldn’t get the truck back through the ditch so needed a quick winch, and he insisted on $40 for the work - even though he would be getting paid to collect the other car. I didn’t have cash and offered a card.
He wanted to take that back to the previous exit to run it at the office. I was having none of it. I really wanted to tell him to stuff his fee but he insisted on payment, and I was worried he’d cry foul to the Police if I refused.
MsBoyink found enough cash between her wallet and the kids to pay him and get him out of our hair. Then we found out that the police and ambulance staff thought he was being a crook as well - so I probably could have just refused payment.
After dealing with all the various people we gathered up clothes that had gotten caught under the other car and drenched in antifreeze and oil, got back in the truck, and headed down the road hoping things would hold together.
We drove 30 miles up the road in order to find a hotel to check into and hopes of a decent, non-close-to-an-expressway mechanic/shop to inspect the truck tomorrow. It runs and drives, but the alignment is off and it feels like the rear may be dog-tracking some.
I’m still mad it happened, am fearful of the damage that’s not yet obvious, and not looking forward to dealing with it all.
The Other Driver
But I feel bad for the other driver, she’s a young college student and probably not flush with cash to buy another car. I’m betting she’ll also have some nightmares over what might have happened, if there weren’t cables to prevent her from going into the oncoming lane, if other cars (or semis) hadn’t been able to avoid the accident, if there had been injuries, or deaths.
My only hope is that whatever was causing her to be distracted doesn’t happen again and she’s smarter about driving, having a taste of what the consequences might be.
As for us, we’re tucked in, warm, alive, with full bellies and just thanking God that we survived, and more cognizant of the gift that life is and ever more determined to try and enjoy every day we are gifted.