My first two years of law school I lived in an apartment up near my school about 45 minutes from my parents' house. I was heading home for Thanksgiving break on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving with my dogs in tow. It was raining and I was driving on the highway, and this particular highway really is not a great commuter road. In many parts there are only 2 lanes (which is absurd considering how much traffic there is), and there are often concrete barriers with no shoulder for the lanes.
Anyways, it was pouring and I was in the right lane (there were only 2 lanes) behind an 18-wheeler that was splashing so much water onto my windshield that I could barely see. I got over into the left lane so I could see, and debated whether I should attempt to pass him to get away from the monsoon it was producing, or just hang back behind him and stay in the left lane so I could see. Well I never got to decide, because, as far as we know, his back tires hydroplaned and the back of the truck came into the left lane and the huge tires were like a machine, sucking my poor car underneath the humongous truck.
I've mentioned before that I believe my great-grandmother, and my grandparents, are my Guardian Angels. This accident is how I know (that and the fact that one time an ex-bf was lying to me on the phone and the porcelain cross they gave me when I was a baby fell off the wall, hit me in the head, and broke). I don't have much memory of the actual accident itself; all I remember is screaming, and I think I closed my eyes? I don't remember being underneath the truck, I think that was just too much for my brain to handle. The next thing I knew, I was on the [tiny] shoulder of the highway. I have absolutely no recollection of how I got my car out from under the truck (my windshield was completely dented in from the truck, but the anti-shatter glass hadn't allowed it to completely break; it spiderwebbed and bent). I also have no memory of getting my car to the side of the road (when the tow truck guy tried to turn it back on, it wouldn't even start, plus the tire was completely flat). I just remember opening my eyes while on the shoulder of the road, seeing how damaged my car was (the front was basically ripped off, the windshield dented in, and that was just the damage I could see at the moment), and crying.
There were thousands of other cars on the road that day, and none of them hit me or the 18-wheeler while I was being dragged underneath it for who knows how long? How is that even possible? It is a MAJOR highway. How else is it possible that my car didn't get stuck under the truck, but instead got out and got to the side of the highway, when the front of my car was destroyed and I have no recollection of getting there?
Well, once we were on the side of the road, I called 911 and told them where we were, and told them not to send an ambulance. I was scared and shaking but pretty much unhurt. The dogs were fine in their cage; I don't think they even realized anything happened. Thank God I keep them in the backseat, not the trunk area, because the window back there had blown out (yes, OUT, there were no glass shards at all back there) and they could have blown out with it! Then I called my parents. They were literally just stepping into my sister's school conference, and my Dad happened to answer the phone. A few minutes later, an ambulance shows up much to my dismay. Apparently they had been driving by and had to check that I was okay (the truck and truck driver were unscathed). I forced myself to calm down enough to assure them not to take me in (for shock I guess) for the sake of my dogs. What would happen to them if I was taken to the hospital?!
Anyways, the truck driver was super nice and asked if I wanted to sit in the warm cab of the truck (I didn't), but when the cop finally got there an over AN HOUR later (rubberneckers caused traffic to be awful, we weren't blocking the highway at all), he was absolutely NOT nice, in fact, he was downright mean. I didn't want to be towed right away because I wanted to wait for my Dad so he could take my dogs, because the tow truck driver refused to allow my dogs in the cab of his truck. Well my Dad couldn't get there in time because of the terrible traffic. I implored the cop to wait, or to take the dogs with him, or come up with another solution. He refused, threatened to ticket me (for what, I have no idea??), then told me as a future lawyer I should know that humans are more important than animals. I wanted to say "Uh duh? Why the hell are you telling me this? That is totally irrelevant to the situation, I just don't want my little dogs to have to stay in my busted up car on the back of a tow truck!" I mean, I was just in a terrible, could-have-been-fatal car accident and he could have treated me A LOT nicer, but instead he acted super rude and annoyed that he had to be there (well excuuuuse me, I didn't plan on getting into a car accident that day, and this is your job by the way!).
The Aftermath. I was lucky not to have any major injuries, besides little glass fragments all over me and whiplash, however I am not a believer in the statement "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger."
I was very upset about the loss of my car (its color was named "Dragonfly"), but my parents told me that the car did it's job, it protected me, and that is why we only buy cars with 5-star safety ratings in our family. Later my Dad asked me, "if you had been in a smaller car, would you have known to duck?" That really hit home, because it was meant to be that I got into the accident in that particular, taller car, because if I had been in a smaller car at the time, I could have been lodged under that truck and died. I am going to post just a few pictures now of the car after the accident, so that you can see how lucky I really am to be alive (if you are squeamish I would exit out of this post now).
Can you see the dent in the windshield from when I was stuck under the truck?
If you got this far, thanks for reading. Please be careful out there on the roads this Thanksgiving!