The woman above smiles from ear to ear. She’s worked all her life, sacrificed much to raise a family. It is now her time; and she is blessed to have the means to purchase a brand new luxury car all for herself.
For the first time in her life she is enveloped by premium sound, panoramic moon roofs, electronics galore, and roomy interior space. The ride is quiet and gentle, it feels like she’s floating down roads and byways, coddled by leather seats that if desired, either cools or warms. It’s the epitome of quality and comfort and in appreciation, she keeps it pristine.
Imagine you are this woman…peacefully living your life, minding your own business, enjoying the ride.
Without warning, cosmic fingers SNAP! and life as you know it, is hijacked into unknown realms of trouble and mayhem. You are powerless, disoriented, confused, traumatized. Current plans are derailed; and your confidence in tomorrow is shaken as you stare into a murky future.
This is what happens when you are the victim of a violent car crash and live to tell the tale. Its effects then ripple onto close family, friends, colleagues. Innocent lives, adversely impacted — all because a distracted driver chose to wield their Ford F-150 Lariat pickup truck like a weapon.
From physical injuries to property loss, emotional chaos to mental fatigue, lives are forcibly changed and time is stolen. This may sound melodramatic but think about it.
You prepare everything the night before so that early in the morning, you are all set to drive your darling to scheduled surgery. The moment has finally arrived. Weeks of waiting is about to be over and you anxiously look ahead to normal life resuming, cancer-free.
The day is clear. It’s just a ten – fifteen minute drive to reach the Interstate. You and your darling are enjoying the comfortable ride in your luxury SUV. Pleasing music buoys you and your darling, thanks to the premium Bose speakers, and you are both looking forward to getting the surgery over and done with.
Up ahead, you see road construction and various vehicles stopped at a traffic light. You move into the turning lane for the on-ramp to the Interstate and check your rear view mirror. It’s empty. After a full stop, you turn right-on-red into the one lane on-ramp and see three tractor trailers parked on the side shoulder, but the one closest to you has its directional blinking and pulls out into the lane. It’s a very big truck that is moving slowly in its attempt to gain highway speed. You are forced to slow down and brake to a complete stop. The tractor trailer blocks the whole lane and the other two remain parked on the shoulder.
One breath, two breaths, three breaths — WHAM!!!!
The sound of exploding glass fills your ears and you’re violently slammed into the back of your seat, then thrust forward again. Ears ringing, hands shaking, you watch the back of the tractor trailer still moving forward along the on-ramp. You think, ‘he didn’t even stop’, and realize he probably couldn’t see you. For some reason the windshield wipers are activated. Must’ve happened when your hands were ripped from the steering wheel. You’ll feel the pain of those pulled muscles for several days.
Your darling is yelling for you to get the vehicle onto the shoulder. Later you’ll learn he feared more collisions might follow. You can hear him calling 911 as he exits your formerly beautiful, luxury SUV to check the welfare of the folks who carelessly rear-ended you at 45 mph.
You worry. How are you going to get your darling to his surgery appointment…taxi? No. Call a friend? You check your watch. No time. You dial the doctor’s phone and leave a voicemail message explaining the situation. Your darling’s cancer will have to wait.
There are no skid marks on the road. She didn’t even attempt to break. Later you’ll learn she was distracted, rushing to get her kids to “school”. Thankfully they were in car seats and no one needed medical attention.
That’s most important.
The next three hours are spent roadside, attending to necessities as best you can, stressed out and aching, amazed there are no ambulance-worthy injuries. You struggle to absorb all the information being thrown at you: damage assessments, police reports, insurance claims, collision centers, tow truck drivers, rental cars. It’s hard but you also have to deal with the other driver and her family who had rushed to the scene.
Four hours later, you’re in the tow truck heading to the collision center, still on the phone with your insurance company. Exhaustion sets in and you feel numb. Five hours later, you arrive home in a rented mini-van. The world seems surreal as shock sets in.
Your shoulder and neck muscles hurt. You can’t sleep. The sound of exploding glass fills your ears as your mind replays the moment of impact, that violent THUD! – over, and over, and over.
All professionals determine the rear-ender was at fault, your vehicle is ‘totaled’ and their insurance will pay, but so what? It won’t be enough money to replace the vehicle you already had…and now you spend days searching automobile dealerships, dismayed at current costs and the thousands of additional dollars you’ll be out of pocket, during a nationwide “chip” shortage and dwindling stock. You discover local dealerships have little to choose from and your stress compounds.
Luckily – this story has a happy ending. After two hellish weeks, a brand new Murano was purchased, all aches and pains healed, and cancer surgery was rescheduled. Life is slowly returning to normalcy; although there is a lingering fear of driving in congested traffic, a hyper-sensitivity to the large volume of irresponsible drivers tail-gating, zipping in and out, staring at cell phones.
But this story could’ve had a very different ending. Think about that same Ford F-150 Lariat pickup truck rear-ending a little commuter car… May it serve as a warning to all.
DON’T be a distracted driver! We’re all guilty of this to a minor degree; it’s so easy to take your eyes off the road, a split-second risk. But real distractions can – in the blink of an eye – end up totaling someone else’s vehicle and perhaps even their life, not to mention your own. SO… If you need to settle squabbling kids – pull over and do it. If you need to check your email – pull over and do it. Want to fiddle with your tunes – pull over and do it. There are no excuses for threatening the lives and livelihoods of innocent bystanders because of your personal distractions. In some cases, it may even be considered criminal.
BEWARE of the distracted driver! They are out there in ever-increasing numbers and are “out to get you”. It’s always wise to drive defensively but as in the above story, what happens when there is no bailout point? What happens when you can’t see it coming? Best to be driving a car with a 5-star safety rating like the Nissan Murano’s. It could save your life, too.