Tuesday, October 13, 2009

My Life in Car Accidents

I have been driving for over 26 years. In the first 21+ years (March 1983-November 2004), I was associated with exactly two car accidents (one as a driver). In the past five years (November 2004-present), I have been associated with seven accidents (four as a driver). This is not a mere anomaly with a few outliers. This is a full-on trend. Let's make a list of my accidents: (and no this is NOT an indispensable blog entry. It's kind of a thematic mess. So feel free to ignore it. But I wanted to get something on here. This is what I came up with.)

My Top Car 9 Accidents Which Involved Me as Driver, Passenger, and/or Co-Insured

1. January 1987, Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, MN. It was a winter's night. I was a passenger. My then-girlfriend drove my mother's Mazda GLC into a Cadillac. No one was hurt. The Mazda was totaled. In the tape deck was this album. Song #5 was playing. Song #4 would have been ironic. This accident happened right around that awful 12-way intersection where Hennepin and Lyndale Avenues intersect with 15th Street South (by the Walker Art Center) and that other side street and the various exits/entrance ramps for that one freeway. They've since fixed up the intersection. I think it's just a 10-way now.

2. August 1998, 101 Freeway, Los Angeles, CA. In a strange karmic twist on the '87 accident, I rear ended a semi-truck on the 101 freeway with my rental car, which happened to be a... Cadillac. This happened in L.A., although I was living in Minneapolis at the time. I was visiting. I never asked for a Cadillac but that's all they had. So I got the free upgrade. I don't remember what I, if anything, was listening to. I wasn't hurt, the truck never stopped, the front end of the Cadillac was CRUSHED and thus totaled.

3. December 2004, 405 Freeway, Santa Monica, CA. In a decidely non-karmic twist, I rear-ended a BMW with a Toyota Camry. I can't say what exactly caused this incident to happen because the Statute of Limitations may not have passed. But I will say this: My car was damaged significantly but not totaled; the BMW, on the other hand, suffered exactly zero dollars worth of damage. Though no one was injured, the accident took its toll, causing financial woe and rocking the foundation of my then-marriage.

(Do you sense a pattern here?
My small car>>>>>>their small car... small car gets crushed.
My big car>>>>>>their big truck...big car gets crushed.
My medium car made out of plastic and aluminum>>>>>>their medium car made out of high-end German steel ...my car gets bent out of shape)

4. July 2006, corner of Glendale and Fletcher, Los Angeles, CA. So the marriage has suffered enough and we're living apart, but with both our names still on the same auto insurance policy. The ex-wife is exiting the parking lot in a Camry (not the same one as #3 above). I'm at home enjoying casual work-from-home Friday. Bastards. No one is hurt. Car is totaled. The other driver is uninjured. The ex-wife gets a check and wisely spends it on her next car. I get higher rates that haunt me for 5 years.

5. August 2007, somewhere in the (San Fernando) Valley, CA. That new car she bought? (see #4) She crashed that one too. Wasn't my fault. How does this haunt me? Every time I apply for new insurance, I'm told that the insurance company report lists me as the driver for this accident. But it wasn't me! I was home sick from work watching a 10-hour John From Cincinnati marathon. That's the truth. Oh yeah - no injuries, some damage.

6. November 2008, Normandie Ave., Los Angeles, CA. Driving south on Normandie just north of Santa Monica. Thinking I saw an opening, I tried to squeeze into the space between a car waiting at the traffic light and a car parked along the curb. My car's right mirror hit the parked car's left mirror. My mirror fell off; the other person's mirror remained intact. A man whose business card reads "Mr. Yu" fixed it for 10 bucks.

7. October 2008, 101 Freeway, Los Angeles, CA. Now, let's go back to my Camry. Someone else is driving it now. Another ex-girlfriend.But she paid me for it so I used the cash to buy me a badass Honda CR-V. This happened as she was driving north on the 101 freeway, just south of downtown L.A. Accident #2 (above) occurred as I was driving south on the 101 Freeway in Los Angeles just south of downtown. Completely different circumstances. Someone rams her car into the freeway wall. She is not hurt but her car (used to be my car) is totaled. No one is injured. How does this affect me, you ask? The car is towed to the street near my apartment as the whole body shop / insurance thing slowly shakes out and I have to see my old charcoal-grey pal in its crushed metal former glory every day for like an entire week!

8. August 2009, someone's driveway, Los Angeles, CA. The Honda CR-V is no longer badass (it does have elements of just plain bad and just plain ass, however.) Anyway, I do exactly what's mentioned in #6. Except this happens in a driveway, not as street. And my car hits a fence and not someone else's car mirror. On the left and not the right. Damaging a fender and not a mirror. And it costs me 20 bucks not 10. Which I give to a guy named Marco, notn a guy named Mr. Yu.

9. October 2009, Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA. Yesterday. Me, a curb, a light post, some morning mist, a bent wheel, a bruised ego. The guy at the auto body shop just called me. His name is Moon. The CR-V is probably not totaled. I feel relief. Because today I experienced the alternative to driving: The Blue Line train between Long Beach and L.A. And while it's always interesting to see people gambling recklessly and hundreds of dollars changing hands on public transportation, I'm sure it gets boring after a while.To review:
  • First 21 1/2 years: 2 accidents, only 1 as driver.
  • Last 5 years: 7 accidents, 4 as driver.
  • 3 different girlfriends/spouses/ex-spouses involved in 4 of the accidents.
  • 4 cars totaled (1, 2, 4, and 7); no injuries at all.
Some additional quirks:
  • In my five accidents, I was the only driver. That means that when you - my friends - are in my car, I'm super-extra careful.
  • Nine accidents and only one of them - #1 - occurred during the first six months of the year.
  • Just last week, I was given the Good Driver Discount by my current insurance company.
  • The cars whose very names/makes/models generate the most laughter and derision - e.g., my 1977 AMC Hornet, my 1988 Hyundai Excel - NEVER got so much as a single dent. Meanwhile, my own five accidents have occurred in, in order: Cadillac (rental), Toyota, Toyota, Honda, Honda.
Actually, to drive the point home even more, I was never in any accidents as a passenger before I became a licensed driver. So really, in the first 38 years of my life? Two accidents. In the last 5? Seven accidents. Maybe we ought to toss out the two minor solo accidents where I hit the fence and mirror. Still I ought to be more careful.

1 comment:

MTC said...

Now I know REALLY why you are happy I live in Oregon: I can't drive your car.