November 14, 2007

Lifesavers

For those of you who haven't heard yet, Sonja was in a car accident this past Saturday while driving home from work up in Flagstaff. Luckily she wasn't severely injured (and neither was the other driver). Sonja's ok, but pretty bruised up, and rather out of it the last couple days with the pain meds she's been taking. Considering that this collision occurred at nearly 70 mph, that's pretty amazing. And I owe it all to three lifesavers: Sonja's quick reflexes, the seatbelt she was wearing, and these:

If anyone ever tries to argue that seatbelts and airbags don't matter (and I don't know anyone who would nowadays), they're full of it. I have always wondered what airbags might feel like in an accident, but after hearing Sonja's description of the experience, I can say that any desire I might have had to feel it for myself went flying out the window. According to Sonja, having your head collide with an airbag at 70 mph doesn't exactly feel like hitting a big fluffy pillow. I think it was her use of the words "face" and "brick wall" combined in the same sentence that really convinced me.

Today I saw the car for the first time, since I was in Wichita at a work conference when the accident happened (getting a call that starts with the words. "I'm ok, but..." is bad enough when you're at home; it's a thousand times worse when you're stuck 1,000 miles away in a hotel room in Kansas...nothing against Kansas, of course). I went up to Flagstaff to retrieve the items that were left inside after Sonja was taken to the hospital. I was also there to take some pictures for the insurance claim.

So, what happened was, Sonja was driving home on I-17 when she came over a rise and noticed a car in front of her. This car did not have any break lights on or hazards flashing (a detail confirmed by a witness to the accident), but was at a complete stop right in the middle of the main driving lane. Now, by the time Sonja realized that 1) the car appeared to be moving slowly, 2) the car was in her lane, and 3) the car wasn't actually moving at all, it was really too late for her to do anything other than slam on the breaks and try to avoid it as best she could. But that still wasn't enough time. I mean, who expects to have a car sitting right in the middle of the driving lanes of an interstate?? Not to mention one whose posted speed limit is 75 freakin' miles per hour.

This is what our car looks like:

I was surprised to see how unimpressive the damage to our car actually is. That little Geo can take one helluva punch. In fact, compared to how the Mercedes fared you would think that ours was the luxury car:

This thing crumpled like it was made out of paper. I thought these were supposed to be "good" cars? They're certainly expensive enough...or so I thought. I did a little research to find out just how much this guy's car was worth. Apparently, the "fair market value" for his Mercedes is only $100 more than for our little Geo.

Now, as we deal with the insurance companies, we just have to keep reminding ourselves that the most important thing here is that everyone involved is safe, at home, and healing. Everything else is just stuff...

4 comments:

Sandra said...

Glad everyone is safe and sound.

Patrick Belardo said...

Great to hear everything is ok. Beth had an accident with her car a few years ago and totalled it, but the side curtain air bags and side air bags really helped her. The curtains stopped a ton of broken glass from hitting her. In defense of the German automakers, I "think" that their cars are meant to collapse in the "right places" in order to be more safe. Not quite sure of the science behind that, but that's what I've heard. I hope this doesn't affect your New Mexico plans...

P. Ollig said...

We decided to nix our New Mexico trip...or at least postpone it a while. Sonja's still recovering, and had schoolwork to catch up on. I hope you and Beth have a great time, though! And the invite is still open if you find yourselves in Arizona while you're out here...

Dave Shaw said...

Wow. That sounds pretty terrifying. I'm glad that everyone is OK, sounds as though it could easily not have been. So what is the story with the guy in the middle of the freeway? I hope he had a good reason.

Get well and enjoy those meds!

-Dave