Five Things I Learned from a Car Crash

I sped up as a two lane street turned to one, side by side with a slow moving, rusted, black pickup truck.  One of us had to either go a little faster or a little slower if this funnel down to one lane was ever going to work.

I passed the truck easily, but a second later heard the roar of an engine. Suddenly, the truck was BESIDE me again, purposely pushing me toward the curb as I ran out of road. With no time to stop I had to make a choice – hit the psycho in the truck or go up on the curb.

I’ll take the CURB for $500 Alex!

I hit the cement, blowing out both tires on the passenger side.  The truck continued racing down the road away from the accident as I rolled to a stop, stunned, nerves jumping as my body dumped a gallon of adrenalin into my veins.

The experience taught me five things.

1. Being Jason-Bourne-Cool Doesn’t Get you Squat.

I have to admit, I felt pretty slick when I had the presence of mind to look up and memorize the license plate of the retreating ass’ vehicle.

Too bad it totally didn’t matter.

I made my first call to 911, figuring that if I broke an axle it could be an expensive fix and I’d need a police report to show the insurance. (something small would have only raised my deductible or rates, and I probably would have left the police out of it.) I proudly rattled off the plate number when the officer arrived.  Honestly, I could barely stop grinning as I did so.  Amy – Defender of Justice!

The cop found the plate in his database.  It belonged to a truck matching my description. Not only that, it was out of date by five years – the guy was driving illegally.

That’s when the officer told me that, in the eyes of the law, SURPRISE!   I hadn’t had an accident. There was no way to prove the guy ran me off the road, BECAUSE I DIDN’T HIT HIM.

Drat! Foiled by my own lightening reflexes.

2. Adrenaline gives you a bitter taste in your mouth.

After the accident I had this terrible metallic taste in my mouth. Blarg. Later that day Mike and I were watching a movie, and in the movie the guy says “Bitter taste in your mouth? It’s the adrenaline.” Huh. Mystery solved. What great timing to watch “The Disappearance of Alice Creed.”

3. No Wonder Cops are Often Cranky

The officer on the scene was Officer Marshall.  I really tried to stop myself, but yes, I had to say, “Hey, you should have become a Marshall and then you would be Marshall Marshall!”  I wanted to kick my own ass as soon as it came out my mouth, but he was nice enough to just say “Yeah… heard that one before.” Duh.  At least I managed to hold back the Brady Bunch “Marshall, Marshall, MARSHALL!” that was on the tip of my tongue the whole time I was with him.

Officer Marshall was SUPER nice.  Poor guy puts himself in danger every day. When he hands out speeding tickets or arrests someone, I’m sure people are muttering or even screaming about what a dick he is. But there he sat for an hour, making sure I didn’t get rear-ended by other motorists while we waited for AAA to come get my sad little lopsided vehicle. He explained to me all the rules that would keep me from ever being able to claim I was in an accident and commiserated with me how unfair it was that I would be penalized for AVOIDING the accident.

I think next time I get pulled over for speeding, I will not call the officer a dick in my head. Maybe.

4. People are More Psycho than I Ever Imagined

This guy I passed in the Sanford and Son truck did NOT look like the kind of person who would suddenly take a normal traffic move as a challenge and run me off the road with such malice. To be honest, I never actually saw the person, it could have been a woman for all I know.  All I do know is the truck didn’t have skull and crossbones on it. It didn’t have a bumper sticker that said “Asshole -Not just a word, a Lifestyle” or “I can go from 0 to Bitch in 2.5 seconds.” And yet whoever was driving really went after me like I’d just sped past them at 80, flipping them the bird and throwing my beer on their windshield.

Do not underestimate your fellow drivers. You never know what kind of day they had and of what they are capable at the slightest provocation.

5.  Accidents Can Actually Put you in a Good Mood

For the rest of the day, after the accident, I was in a really chipper mood. Almost euphoric. Why? Some nut had just endangered my life, made me miss a client meeting, cost me two new tires and hours out of my busy day.

Well, I’m a half glass full kind of gal… but really I think it was a combination of things.

  • After 911, I called my husband and Mike came to pick me up, gushing and worried. It was nice to feel so loved.
  • In the grand scheme of things, two tires were NOTHING compared to what could have happened.
  • Mike had been telling me to drop AAA. I’ll never have to worry about that argument again. In fact, he wants to be sure he’s on the policy, too. Granted, it was an extreme way to win an argument, but the next time he disagrees with me I am considering breaking my own finger with a hammer or something.
  • It made an otherwise normal day pretty interesting. I got to meet nice Officer Marshall and a smiley tow truck driver.
  • Great excuse for taking the rest of the day off.
  • Two words – blog material!


First posted on an online magazine for old mature wise writers like myself.

Amy Vansant

4 Responses

  1. Christine

    It’s moments like these when we really need laser eyes. Run me off the road = pile of smoldering ashes. Great post.


    • Amy Vansant

      I have often, OFTEN wished for laser eyes. The important thing is, when you wish for them, not to wish for them in GENERAL. Then everyone might get them and YOU could be laser-eyed. Be sure to wish for them JUST FOR YOU.


  2. Christine

    I’m completely dogmatic about elitism regarding laser eyes. And by “elite” I mean “me”. And you, in this case.


    • Amy Vansant

      I appreciate that. I promise not to laser you. Unless you are driving slow in the fast lane. Or if you refuse, when asked politely, to leggo my eggo. And by eggo I mean cocktail.



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