Last night started out simply enough. I left work around 5:50, later than normal because our staff meeting didn’t end on time. I got in the car & replied to a couple text messages before pulling out of the parking lot. I made a mental list of the things we had neglected to get while grocery shopping the day before: garlic, bananas, something else what was it? I was planning on making chicken and garlic broccoli for dinner & since we threw away the chopped garlic that had been in our frig thanks to the hurricane, I needed more. I didn’t have to work at the Bucks which is always cause to be happy and I was hoping I’d be able to clean & cook dinner before my husband got home around 8 so we could spend time together. My drive home is fairly easy. Sometimes there is traffic on 287 but it usually clears up after the exit for Route 80 & then it’s smooth sailing. I had a little bit of coffee left from our meeting; I generally take all day to finish my canister of coffee & heat it up when it gets cold. I went to take a sip and missed the mouth hole, a typical hot mess thing for me to do. I was upset because I was wearing a cute jumper my friend had passed down to me & didn’t want it to stain. I looked down to check my dress, brushing the stray drops of coffee off th fabric & when I looked up there was a wall of traffic in front of me, way too close. I slammed on my breaks, but there wasn’t enough time. My car ran into the back of a white Ford F150 pick up truck. I’ve never been so scared in my entire life. In the few seconds I had before impact, I tried to check the other lanes to see if I could pull to the side, but no go. I was in the middle lane & both sides had traffic in front & cars next to me. After hitting the truck, I was able to follow him to the right shoulder of the highway & traffic cleared up. I don’t know what had caused it or why cars were in a stop on 287 for approximately 2 seconds, but it was gone as I sat scared on the side of the road while tractor trailers zoomed past me, shaking my car. The guy in the pickup truck got out of the car to assess the damage, bumper scratches for him & a wrecked hood, bumper & light for me. I got out of the car to look as well, careful to stay as far away from the road as possible, and the guy began screaming & cursing at me. Scared, I went back to the passenger side of the car and waited for the police to come, as the man had assured me he would call them. The wait turned out to be a decent amount of time & after calling my husband and putting him on alert to pick me up somewhere, I sat in the car, only getting out to take pictures of both vehicles. A few minutes later, I saw bright headlights behind me and was happy the police were there and at least I could get off the busy roadway. No luck…some random guy with a flat tire had been driving on the shoulder to take the exit up ahead when our vehicles became his roadblock. I opened the door (STUPID) and spoke to him, telling him no I could not move my car to allow him access to the exit but that the police were on their way and could possibly help him get by. He left, I locked the door, and a few minutes later, he pulled out into a lag of traffic and was able to get around us. Another 15 or so minutes went by before a police officer came, talking to myself & the truck guy and called me a tow truck, deeming my car unsafe to drive. My husband picked me up at the gas station/towing company about 20 minutes later and took me home where he made dinner (turkey cutlets and cous cous) and took care of the dogs. I laid on a heating pad and watched Shrek Forever After as my sore back and shoulder rested.
I can tell you this much: I am incredibly lucky. Lucky I looked up when I did and not any later. Lucky I have a safe car that took the brunt of the impact. Lucky I wasn’t rear ended as well. Lucky it was a truck I hit instead of a smaller car, or a bigger truck that my car could have gone under at all, or a motorcycle. And it’s this last thought that invaded my thoughts even while Shrek & Donkey were fighting on the TV screen. Even while Clark was doing his best to be cute and cheer me up. Even while I cuddled in bed with my stuffed monster Ron got me. It. Could. Have. Been. So. Much. Worse. I know I should just be thankful it wasn’t & take the necessary precautions to never let something like this happen again. I know accidents happen and I didn’t do it on purpose. But I also know this accident could have had a much worse outcome & that thought makes me ashamed and miserable, then guilty for feeling miserable when it was my own fault. I feel like a kid…I can’t handle the simplest act of driving a car and stopping for traffic. And there’s no one to blame for it but myself. Not even a week after a post about being clumsy and the need to be more aware of myself & this happens. It’s always something with me and usually it just affects myself…my broken iPhone, my stubbed toe, my finger cut open with a steak knife (happened at our friend’s wedding last weekend…cross “cutting bread” of my list of skills). This time it affected another person. He may have driven off with a slightly scratched bumper, but had another vehicle been in front of me, that may not have been the case.
I wish I could count my blessings & just be happy to know it wasn’t worse and that all parties were involved, but I know me. I know this is going to haunt me for a while. Perhaps that’s a good thing in the long run. Maybe this is the straw that broke the camel’s back (and my car) to finally kill the clumsy. Whether that’s the case or not, I can assure you I will be the most conscientious driver you’ve ever seen. I will be leaving SUPER EXTRA early to get everywhere I need to be because slow & steady wins the race and if that gets me and my car to my destination safely, that’s what I’m gonna do. I will also refrain from eating/drinking in the car (unless I’m a passenger) and my phone will get a new friend named Bluetooth. Feel free to call me Grandma here on out…cause I will be cruise control to the speed limit and not a decimal over. As for now, god speed to the wonderful mechanic working on my car & fingers crossed that everything is fine.
PS – Huge thank you to my husband (for obvious reasons) & my in-laws who volunteered to drive me to and from work when they can…especially my father-in-law for driving me today! (And imparting some safe defensive-driving wisdom)