Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Fender Bender

I was getting ready to write a blog about training today when this little gem came along this morning to remind me about paying attention to the intuitive side of life.

I was driving my kid to school, which is about a mile away. I pulled into the center lane of the main street (one lane each way with a turn lane in the middle) behind a line of cars at the red light, then saw a car pulling out of a driveway on my right. There was a gap in the line of cars for him to make his left turn, so I stopped short of the car in front of me to let him through. However, the driver was looking to his right at traffic coming from that direction and drove straight into the front of my car.

No one was hurt (though I'm starting to feel soreness in my upper back), and replacing my bumper and turn signals and realigning the front end will run close to $1000, which is my insurance deductible, even before labor is included. Plus, I'll need a rental vehicle for several days. Of course, it turns out the other driver was a sixteen year old undocumented Mexican kid with no license, in an unregistered car belonging to a friend, so I'm stuck with the total costs. He offered me $100 for repairs if I didn't call the cops, saying a friend of his could fix my bumper (the mounts are busted off, has to be replaced, and the turn signals alone cost what he offered).

As soon as he (and all the people who came out of his house) started telling me not to call the cops, I knew I was screwed. Anyway, I waited on 911 hold for 10 minutes, then called the local police department through the operator, which told me to call Highway Patrol and switched me back to 911, where I sat on hold another 10 minutes. Finally, while hearing the recorded message not to hang up for the umpteenth time, a CHP officer just happened to drive by. When he said the other car would be impounded because the driver was not licensed, the kid's big sister started arguing that he shouldn't do that because "it isn't done this way in Mexico." I think they need to understand that this isn't Mexico, and the laws that apply there are not valid here. Sheesh!

I even had strong premonitions of trouble which caught my attention beforehand; I wanted to leave extra-early today, and those kinds of feelings often make me wonder what is out there. Before leaving home I put on some lightweight sandals instead of regular shoes, then wondered if they'd be sufficient if I had to walk home, and as I was pulling up behind the other cars in the turn lane, I was watching for the other car before I even saw him, sensing trouble through the gap in the line of cars to my right. This just goes to show you can't drive too defensively, as I saw him and was at a complete stop before he even pulled out.

No comments: