The red lights were coming fast and furious. In the Navy we called it “CBDR.” Constant bearing, decreasing range. Meaning, it’s coming right at you! And that is exactly what was happening. Except that technically, I was headed straight for it!
And then came the bang. Those red lights it turns out were the brake lights of a mini van on the road in front of me. Where it came from I don’t know. There was a tractor trailer in front of me, but it turned. Then there were the red lights. It was nearing me too fast and the distance was too short for me to stop in time. I slammed on the brakes. They locked up, the truck slid and well, the bang. The front end of my truck into the rear end of the mini van. Oh, and then the poof! Airbag, almost as an afterthought. Damn!
My first thoughts were, oooh, this is gonna hurt! And, uh, oh, my surgically enhanced spine is gonna snap in two and I’ll be dead. But neither of those things happened. The seat belt caught me. Then the damn airbag.
Before you criticize me for defaming my airbag, let me assure you that I fully appreciate the importance of airbags. In this case, however, I feel as if its deployment was unnecessary. And, you dear reader, will see in just a few moments what real consternation the airbag caused me.
Realizing what had happened, and that I was alive and the truck would move, I pulled onto the side of the road and up alongside the minivan I had hit. With my window rolled down I hollered out to the other driver to find out if she was ok. She asked the same of me and she too moved off the road.
We were both a little shaken. We exchanged information regarding insurance coverage and such details, and I called the police. The driver of the other vehicle was amazingly calm, and very concerned about me. You’d think that she had hit me, not the other way around.
The police came and the officer marveled at how with so little apparent damage to my truck, the airbag had deployed. Then he gathered up our driver’s licenses and insurance documents and asked us for the details. Pretty simple, red lights, bang. My fault. After satisfying himself that neither of us was a wanted criminal, he asked if everyone was ok.
Both of us had some aches and pains so he called an ambulance to check us out. My aches and pains were the ones I usually have so I wasn’t worried about that. I was concerned about the other lady.
While a female EMT checked out the lady driving the minivan, the other EMT told the police officer and I all sorts of stories about wrecks with airbags. He and the officer agreed on one thing- a popped airbag usually means a totaled car. This talk of totaling my truck was bothering me. Greatly. Other than the airbag hanging out of my steering wheel no one would ever know I’d been in an accident. No real visible damage. Other than the junk you might expect to find on an eleven year old truck.
So, the lady checked out ok and was released. The ambulance left and the officer said I was free to go. He blocked the traffic for me to pull out onto the busy road, and then followed me for a couple of miles until he reached the boundary of his jurisdiction. Not a great way to spend some time on a Thursday afternoon.
Calling my insurance company I was once again regaled with tales of burst airbags. And totaled vehicles. I want to keep my truck I kept saying. Oh no the adjuster kept saying. Airbags are expensive, we will just total the truck and give you pennies on the dollar for it. I understand about depreciation, but a functional truck has value far exceeding any blue books notions! I postponed calling the repair shop.
After a few days of worry and thinking, I told myself that I had been planning to trade the truck in for a newer vehicle anyway. Just not right now. And why should I keep a junky truck if the insurance company was going to partially fund a new one? DUH! Because I have to fund the rest of it!
Five days later, I decided I would see what happened and would either get the truck repaired, or junk it and get a newer one. I cleaned everything out of it. I ran it through a car wash. If it’s gong to be junked, it might as well look good going out. And maybe the adjuster would appraise it a little higher.
The guy at the repair shop oohed and aaahed over the truck. Except for the airbag. He too marveled at how it could have deployed in such a minor accident. Then he told me it would only cost $2700.00 to fix it. OMG! I thought. I’d looked it up on the computer and I got the impression the truck was only worth about $4000.00 in good condition. It’s gonna be totaled.
With enough questions and hemming and hawing, I was able to get the repair shop to tell me that the truck, by insurance company standards, was worth a lot more than I thought. And that the cost of the repair was no where near the threshold that they use for deciding to repair or total. So I was going to have my truck fixed. After all. Damn! I had gotten used to the idea that I might get a new vehicle! And was actually looking forward to that new car smell…
The only smell I was going to get was rental car smell. Always smells like Pine Sol to me. After several sleepless nights worrying about how I was going to have to fight the repair shop and het insurance company to keep the truck they wanted to total, I was relieved to find out it would be repaired. And disappointed not to be getting a new one. So I left the truck, got in the rental car and now I’m waiting to see what