Are you here expecting my Wineglass Marathon recap? Pardon the interruption but I have more pressing ridiculousness to brain dump on the blog. Like how I don't have a car anymore.
Oh, and how I am really lucky I am not hurt or dead.
Yesterday was my first day back at work from our little vacation/romp around the northeast. I left at my usual time, around 6:15pm. Got on the 5 freeway, northbound. Per usual. Traffic was moving well, however, I know that this freeway is fairly unpredictable from 4-7pm, so, I am always on guard. I had maybe gotten 8 miles from work? I was driving in the fast lane (apparently it is called the "number 1" lane) behind someone who works at my company - I know this because she has an interesting vanity plate that I see in the parking lot nearly every day. No idea who she is. I would guess traffic was moving around 70 mph, give or take 5. We crested the hill before the Via de la Valle exit and I see my lane is coming to a stop ahead.
I hit my brakes pretty hard, but nothing extreme. It was not a majorly difficult to come to a stop. But at that point, I was a sitting duck. I looked in my rearview, a white van was coming up fast. Moves into the carpool lane to avoid us. Next, a silver van of some sort was coming up quickly. Unfortunately, this person, either panicked, wasn't paying attention, or was driving way too fast to stop in time. Or all of the above.
It was like slow motion. You know? Even though it probably happened over the span of like 5 seconds. I was sitting there with my hands on the wheel, clutch pedal engaged, foot on the brake, bracing to get wacked hard. Watching this car come at me from my rearview. I could not move, seeing as I was at a complete stop. And the other lanes were moving, so, I had no options.
Let me just say I was damn lucky yesterday. She (I found out it was a "she" later, from the police officer) managed to swerve enough to hit rear-side of my car, rather than getting completely rear-ended. Side airbags deployed, and my seat side air bag deployed, too. It was surreal. I watched the car continue down the carpool lane and though "The aren't going to stop." She was so far up head when she finally did, I could barely make out what the vehicle looked like. All I could think of was "Great, so now I also have a hit and run situation." Oh, and it was CSA pick up day, so, naturally, I was concerned about my $26 box of organic vegetables sitting in the trunk. I swear, the shit that goes through your mind in these situations.
As I'm sitting there in WTF mode, this lady, who had the best of intentions, tries to convince me through my open passenger side window that I should hop in her car and get out of there. Even in my very shaken state, this seemed like a dumb idea. I told her I was going to call 911. And can you believe I had people honking at me? I tried to move the car - it started, but when I pressed the gas it didn't move. Yet, people are assholes and honk. Awesome, right?
The CHP? They came in a New York Minute. However, I believe this is because they were already enroute to another accident up ahead at the exit. I think this is also why my lane was stopped. CHP though? They are on point. One of the cruisers backed up in the carpool lane, another came up shortly after. Meanwhile, fire engines had zoomed by me for the other accident. Here I am, peeking around my side airbags (the smell when they deploy? Gross), the officer comes up, asks if I'm alright (I tell him that I think so), and he takes my license and insurance. He has the other person's as well.
They then have me attempt to drag my car over to the left. I start it and press more aggressively on the gas, it actually hobbles over. A sit there a few more minutes, texting my husband about my situation. Few minutes pass, the officer comes up and asks me to try to move my car all the way over across lanes. They will left the back if they have to. I start it, turn hard, and press the gas hard. As I'm slowly dragging my poor car over, I see that all traffic on the 5 is stopped in a traffic break. This is all happening over like 5-10 minutes, that's how fast these guys work. I drag my car over to the right shoulder, and traffic starts going again, and the tow truck is already there.
Did I mention I am super impressed with the CHP? Holy crap. Tax dollars in action right there.
Finally, I crawl out of the passenger side and look at my car; while it wasn't as bad as I though it would be - probably because the Mazda3 is a very solid car, thank God I wasn't in some tiny-ass tinfoil economy car - it didn't look good. The officer says airbags are at like $2K to repair. The doors are completely done/buckled. He says it looks like my rear axle is broken based on the way the tire is dented in (makes sense because even with a complete flat, it wouldn't take that much gas pedal to move across 4 lanes).
Oh, and also? I paid off the car about 3 months ago. So there's that. It had only 29K miles on it. 2011, still under warranty. Now, I don't want to sound whiny, because I am freaking relieved that I didn't die or get seriously hurt, but this kind of sucks. The trade in value is like $13.5K. I can't get the same car, used, for that amount of money.
And then I got to ride in the front seat of a cruiser. That was pretty cool. He dropped me off at a local coffee shop to wait for my husband to come get my sorry ass, 25 miles from home. During the 5 minute ride off the freeway, he said that apparently another unit responding to the original crash, saw the whole thing happen. And they also were concerned the other person was not going to stop and it would be a hit and run (I think that's why they went to her car first rather than me). I think that was highly possible, except she probably figured out there were a bunch of CHP everywhere, and that would be a pretty dumb idea.
I have no idea what happens next. I've filed my claim. I have two reps that I can call. But I have no clue how long this kind of stuff takes. Do I bug them about it? It's clearly not my fault - but I am hoping that I don't have to wait for the two insurance companies to duke it out. And I really hope they don't try to fix my car. Anyone have experience dealing with this crap? In my 17 years of driving, I have never been in an accident. I suppose it was bound to happen.