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April 19, 2012
Well, this is a "first" I never wanted to write about. Rylie experienced her first car accident Monday night. We are all fine, and it wasn't near as bad as the picture above suggests, but since my kid was in the car, it felt like it was that bad.
I had taken my mom and Rylie to see an advanced screening of Chimpanzee (which was a great movie, by the way) and we were involved in a little fender bender on our way home. We were turning left onto the main road from the side street the theater was on, and some idiot had started crossing the street we were turning onto, even though the big red hand was on the crosswalk sign. When he saw the cars coming his way, he stopped in the middle of the road and was waving the cars by. For some reason, the driver in front of me decided to come to a screeching halt so that she could let the pedestrian cross, which caused me to slam on my brakes. At the same time, the driver behind me was trying to get through the light before it turned red and slammed right into the back of me.
Luckily we were only going like 5mph, so the impact was not bad. I gave Rylie a quick glance and then pulled off the road into a parking lot, hoping that the careless driver behind me would do the same, and she did. I looked back at Rylie to make sure she was OK, and uttered some words to my mom that I know included the word "morons", which was not only directed at the lady who hit me, but the guy in the middle of the road.
At first glance, I didn't see any damage to my big ole tank of an SUV, but the PT Cruiser that hit me wasn't so lucky. The front in was pretty messed up. I made sure the people in the other car were OK and then went back to inspect my truck. It was hard to see because it was really dark out and my truck is dark gray, but I was able to see that my backup sensor was popped out, and the plate on top of the bumper was lifted on one side. I heard the offending driver say "well my damage isn't that bad, so we don't have to claim this", to which I replied "well, you messed up my truck, so yes we do."
I don't do well in those situations, and was more concerned about Rylie and my mom, so I quickly got the woman's insurance policy number and her name and got back in my truck. I talked to Rylie for a minute to again make sure she was OK, and then we left.
I was irate! If I had been in my truck alone, it wouldn't have been such a big deal. I would have just chalked it up to the fact that they let careless idiots drive automobiles and moved on with my night. That wasn't the case, though. My 4 year old little girl was in the truck with me. What if they had hit me harder? What if the accident had been worse? Someone put my baby girl in jeopardy and I was MAD.
Once we got home and I got Rylie to bed (after asking her like 100 more times if she was OK), I called my insurance company and filed a claim. Luckily the other driver was also insured by the same company, so the claim process was simple.
I posted about the accident on Facebook, and after a few comments, I started worrying. People were telling me to take Rylie to the pediatrician to get checked out, and someone even brought up that I would need to get new car seats. Rylie really did seem fine, so I waited until the morning and called the pediatrician. She wasn't concerned. She said that as long as Rylie could move all of her extremities with no issues, and wasn't complaining of any neck pain or headaches, that she was just fine.
I did some research about whether or not to replace the car seats. While some brands advocate replacing the seat after ANY accident, I checked with Britax, my favorite car seat manufacturer, and their website states that a car seat does not have to be replaced after a minor crash, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Our accident was definitely classified as a minor crash, and I feel comfortable not replacing the car seats.
I'm still mad as hell, and definitely a little more fearful about driving with my children in the car. You can only be as safe as the other drivers around you, and my little accident is proof that safety isn't everyone else's first priority.
I am counting my blessings that no one was hurt Monday night, and I hope I never have to experience anything like that again. I am also glad that I do drive around in a huge, gas guzzling SUV, which now needs yet another bumper! This isn't the first time I have been rear ended, but I certainly hope it is the last!