I have a story to tell you. Fasten your seatbelt. We’re very glad we are in the habit of using ours, which is law here in Canada.
Sunday started out innocently enough. I got home for my week off from caregiving, then a couple of hours later my daughter asked me if I would like to go to the zoo with her and my grandson. There was a lion cub born this summer that we hadn’t seen yet. I said yes, so in about an hour they arrived for me and we started out to be there for feeding time at the zoo.
About half way there our whole plan changed.
In the front passenger seat I’d closed my eyes because of a headache for which I’d taken a capsule before leaving home, when I heard my daughter calmly say, “He’s going to hit us.” I looked up and there it was – a car in the east bound lane – heading directly at us! He had crossed over into our lane and there was nothing that could be done, nowhere for us to go to get out of the way! I had time to gasp.
There was a loud THUNK and solid jolt. Fortunately, he missed hitting us head-on, and not by much. With the force of the impact along the driver side of my daughter’s vehicle, her back wheel was ripped off and we were sent into a violent spin. We think we made two complete circles stretched over at least a quarter-mile of highway, but with the airbags deployed it was hard to know for sure. Although it happened in mere seconds everything seemed to go into slow motion. I screamed, tires screeched, I could taste the powder from the airbags, all was a blur out the front window; it seemed we were going to crash off into trees, then over an embankment. My heart seemed to settle on my daughter and my grandson seated behind her. I felt as if we were protected, enclosed, when just as suddenly as it all began … we stopped. Amazingly, we were on the side of the road and facing west – the way we had been travelling before the accident! We hadn’t plunged down the embankment, we hadn’t hit the guardrail on the other side or any of the other vehicles on the road, we didn’t flip or roll, none of our windows had broken, no one was seriously injured. Airbags had protected us, and seatbelts had held us securely in place.
People from other vehicles started running over to us – Is anyone hurt? Are you alright in there? Can you get out? One of the first was a retired police office who was helpful and calming. Another was the driver of the car ahead of us that had just missed being hit. She saw the whole thing in her rearview mirror and didn’t expect to see anyone able to get out of our vehicle after what happened. Another witness of everything was a lady behind us in a smaller car. She said if he hadn’t hit us he would have hit her head-on, which would have been a totally different end result. As it was, people collected and carried over pieces of my daughter’s Terrain – the tire, the rim, the axle, other things, and I don’t know how many people were on their cell phones calling 9-1-1 to get us help. We were told that our rear tire had been sent rolling and bouncing, hitting another car so that there were three vehicles involved at the scene, including the one who started it all and had spun in circles ending up way down the road from us and facing the ditch.
It didn’t seem to be very long before paramedics arrived by ambulance, soon followed by a firetruck. (I’d never been that close to one when its siren is blaring – deafening!) Police officers soon appeared on the scene. I’d called my husband who, with my sweet sister-in-law who insisted on coming with him, had no trouble finding us due to the backed-up traffic.
I relearned something that day about myself and human nature in general. We don’t know what we are capable of in times of trauma. My daughter was perfectly calm, perhaps more than usual, until it was all over. Her concern was for me and especially her son. I, on the other hand, was more angry than I’ve been in a long time. In jest but likely partly in seriousness, a paramedic told my husband they just were making sure I didn’t see the driver of the other car. I’d been seated on the ground and fighting back tears, trying to calm down, when a paramedic came to see if I was okay. I told him I was furious! “That’s my family! That’s my daughter, and that’s my grandson!” I felt the other driver was irresponsible, inattentive, and had put my family at risk. It’s like my sister-in-law said to me later, “Mama Bear can come out when we feel like someone has threatened our children/grandchildren.”
There were angels in action on our behalf on Sunday. There are many things that could have been very different. I have thanked God many times and will many times more. I’ve prayed for the other guy, not wishing him more harm than the ticket I heard he got out of this, and his insurance is sure take a hit.
My grandson is fine, the welt on his neck caused by his seat belt is gone. He had a story to tell his friends at school on Monday. My daughter and I suffer now from soreness in hips and ribs, shoulders, neck, some whiplash and such. We’ve started treatment already to keep it from getting worse.
Below are most of the photos from the accident:
Photos 1-5: damage to my daughter’s Terrain, a safe family vehicle, we learned. Photo 6: back tire from her vehicle, retrieved after colliding with another car. Photo 7: driver’s side, airbags deployed, including lower one to protect her side. Photo 8: passenger side, airbags deployed. No need for front ones, fortunately. Photos 9 & 10: the other guy’s; floor’s forced up; airbags deployed in the front.
Yes, I praise God no one was seriously hurt. It could have been so much worse.
Do you have a narrow-escape story to tell?
Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! 🙂