Car Accident

My “Invincible Driver” Streak Is Over

After 25 years of near-perfect driving, Wednesday night my streak came to an end when we were side-swiped by a tractor trailer on Highway 401 approaching Toronto. Thankfully, Lisa and I are fine, but the same cannot be said for our Prius.

I mourn the end of my near-perfect streak. In that 25 year span, I never got into an accident and I was only ever stopped once for speeding – beware when driving in Toronto, some major streets only have a 40 km/hr speed limit. Otherwise, I’ve been flawless.

This being said, Wednesday night’s fender bender was NOT my fault. We were heading west in the express lanes having come from visiting my parents in Ottawa. As we entered Toronto road-space, the traffic slowed to a crawl (what else is new for Toronto highways at 10pm at night in the middle of the week?!?!). It quickly became apparent that the left 2 lanes had been closed for construction, so everyone was trying to merge into the 2 right lanes. I was in the 2nd lane from the right moving at approximately 10 km/hour when all of a sudden a tractor trailer decided it wanted to be in the part of my lane that I was still occupying. He made strong contact but thankfully it wasn’t even as jarring as a bumper-car collision at a fair. That being said, he made good enough contact to partially rip off the back bumper, and scrape the back side of the car.

At this point, we had to decide: do we stop amongst the chaos of this traffic as cars are impatiently zooming by in the far right lane (there’s no where really to stop on that stretch in order to exchange insurance info), or do we keep going till the next exit? We decided on the latter. I had a good friend (a talented percussionist) from my university days who was killed when he was on the side of the 401 changing a tire… that memory has always stuck with me. Of course, this meant we did not exchange any info with the driver, it was dark and we couldn’t see his plates. Once we were off the highway, we had to wait 90 minutes for the police, a tow truck and eventually after accompanying the car to the dealership, we made it home.

This morning we found out that because the truck driver didn’t report the accident to the police, we’re on the hook for the $500 deductible. And while I’m the super-cheapest person I know who hates spending a penny more than he has to, I’m also happy that we’re okay. Even though I wasn’t thinking this 30-60 minutes after the incident last night, sometimes in life, unexpected things happen beyond your control and if you can survive with your health, then that’s all that matters.

This “surprise” event in our lives has also resulted in the fact that we will be without a car for the next 2-3 weeks. Our auto insurance plan is not fancy-schmanzy enough to supply us with a free rental. So this will bring us back to our non-car days and help us see if we can live without a car once again. I look forward to reporting back in a future blog post on how this radical, middle class, bourgeois social experiment goes:)!

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