26 July 2005


A recent couple of posts at the Freakonomics blog related to auto safety got me reminiscing about my car crashes. Ah, sweet memory! Mistress of pain!

I have been in three significant crashes which could have led to serious injury or fatality. Luckily, no one was actually injured. In two of the cases my car was "totaled" and in one case it required thousands of bux in repairs. All happened in a couple year period in the early 90's.

Crash! One: I was driving a Pontiac Grand Am in East Lansing, MI. I was broadsided, struck on the driver's side at right angles while I was driving at about 40 mph. Hit my head on the drivers window but wasn't injured. The poor kid who was driving the other car had just got his license, and pulled into the intersection without looking. The cop tried to give him an 'out', though: "So, son, was anything blocking your view as you entered the intersection? Hint, hint?" Answer: "Yes, officer, my passenger's head". He did not get out of that ticket. The crash coincidentally happened in front of a Pontiac dealership, so I just pulled my badly damaged car across the street, called my insurance co, and told them the car was already at the shop. :)

Crash! Two: Same Pontiac! My wife and I were rear-ended by a semi at highway speeds (not fun). A yahoo ahead of us cut us off, we braked, and the rig behind us ran right over the top of us. In the process we ran into the yahoo in front of us when he pulled into our lane and we took off his bumper; but the yahoo took off down the exit and never looked back. Both the front seats broke right off their bases. The front passenger compartment was intact, but the back seat and trunk were mangled. A friend of ours had planned on riding with us that night, but presciently did not. He would have certainly been kaput. This was the end of the Pontiac. :(

Crash! Three: Mazda 323 (bright red). I was sandwiched between two vehicles, one in front, one behind. A lady right in front of me stopped halfway through an intersection. When the police questioned her it was obvious that she had no idea why she stopped or that stopping in an intersection might be a bad idea. Mazda was totalled even though it was a low-speed crash.

I didn't get any tickets from those. I haven't had any crashes since then. Really, I'm safe. Really.