I think I totaled my car tonight.
It was about 9:30 p.m., and I was driving home after a meeting in the university town about 40 miles south of where I'm living. I got within about 10 miles of home when I hit an icy bridge and lost control.
I think I hit (or probably nearly hit) the left side of the bridge. Then I spun and hit the right side of the bridge squarely with the front of my car. I bounced off it, and was facing the left side again when I stopped, only to see the SUV that was behind me spinning out and basically repeating my path. I knew it was going to hit me, so I turned my head to keep from tensing up as it approached. No sense inviting pain, I figured (or not. I didn't have time for conscious thought, but I know I didn't want glass in my face if the window broke.)
In a few seconds I felt the collision. When I looked back I saw that she had hit me with the butt-end of her car. She had made a 180 in the few seconds I wasn't watching. When she hit me, we both wound up facing the way we had just come, and somehow or other I was in front of her at this point, off on the far shoulder.
I grabbed my cell phone and reached a police department in another town; I was able to give the dispatcher enough info about our location that she was able to get the Highway Patrol there in just a few short minutes.
The trooper had me get in his car with my license and insurance. He wanted to know if I wanted him to work the accident or just do a report for insurance. I didn't know what the "right" thing was. He said, Well, if I work it, you'll probably be the one to get a ticket." I asked why, since it was caused by ice that wasn't apparent to any of us. He said "Because none of these other cars is having a problem driving across the bridge." OK, right after we collided, a third car also hit the bridge but kept driving. And lo, as soon as the words were out of his mouth, two more cars collided right in the same place. When I got back in my car, just as he was returning my papers to me, two more cars collided. He told me I could go, and I said I would, just as soon as it was clear for me to turn around. He said "I thought you were southbound." NO, trooper, I was northbound. That's what I've been telling you. The ice -- the spinning.... He corrected the report. And crash, two more cars collided.
I headed north, and at the far end of the bridge (the end I hadn't made it to yet) there were two more cars down in the ditch with big hunks of bumpers or fenders or something on the road. And here came another car which promptly bounced off the bridge right as it passed me.
( got another quarter of a mile and there was ... you guessed it, two more cars that had collided.
It was NOT a good night. I felt blessed that I was alive and that my car was still driveable.
It is a 13-year old car with 153,000 miles on it. I expect the insurance company will total it. Just at first glance, though, most of the damage seems to be confined to the driver's side door and the front bumper. I'll have to have it checked for other damage, of course.
The SUV had a broken tail light. And that driver's license was suspended.
I'm fine. I feel no pain at this point and the adrenaline shake has stopped. It's nearly midnight, and I might be able to sleep in another 30 minutes or so.
Funny. On the drive down I was just thinking that I'm sure not in a position to get a different car just now. Guess I might have to rethink that, like it or not. I sure have loved this car. I got it for my 40th birthday and it has served me so well.