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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Car Accident

I was in a car accident today. I had just come from Trader Joe’s and was heading home. I was driving Sander (our CRV) and heading north on Crenshaw Blvd. I was going about 35-40 mph when I got rear-ended by a Lexus sedan. Although it was not a very strong impact, my car jerked forward a few feet. I slowed down, turned on my hazards and pulled over to the right side of the road. The Lexus followed behind me. Through my rearview mirror, I also saw a Buick sedan follow behind it.

I got out of my car and surveyed the damage. My bumper has caved in (where it was hit) and the left side of the bumper looks lopsided almost as if it was about to detach from the car. I walked over to the Lexus. The driver is a middle-aged businessman. He is on the phone with his insurance agent, then his lawyer, then his Lexus dealer. In between his phone conversations, he told me that he was actually about 10 feet away from me. There was plenty of space between us. However the Buick plowed into him from behind and in turn his car was pushed forward thus hitting mine.

I walked over to the Buick and there was a young woman sitting in the driver’s seat. She was crying and shaking pretty badly. I noticed she was about 7 maybe 8 months pregnant. I asked her if she was ok and she said she was fine but was worried about the baby. I helped her out of the car. Then we called 911 to report that there was an accident. We requested for police assistance and said we possibly needed an ambulance too.

While waiting, the young lady, the Asian man and I exchanged contact and insurance information. The young lady also apologized and said she would accept full responsibility. In as little as 5 minutes, a squad car with two officers pulled up. Right behind them was another officer on a motorcycle. Within the next 5 minutes, a fire truck pulled up, followed by the paramedics and finally an ambulance. All within 10 minutes after the accident, we were surrounded by about a dozen officers.

The officer-in-charge interviewed us one-by-one and got our information. While she filed the report, the paramedics approached us and asked if we were ok. We were asked 3 times by 3 different people. Both the Asian man and I said we are fine. We were given a number to call if we felt any ill-effects later on. The young lady though was not ok. Her blood pressure had shot up and she was complaining of stomach pains. The paramedics immediately placed her on a stretcher, hooked her up to some monitors, got an IV drip started and finally transported her to the hospital. Her car was towed away.

About 15 minutes later, the officer-in-charge told us she had filed the accident report (which will make our filing for insurance claims much easier). We then got some details from her. It turns out the young lady was on her cellphone while driving (which is against the law in California). Not only that, she had globs of hand lotion on her hands. This meant she was rubbing lotion on her hands, while driving, while on her cellphone. These distractions caused her to hit the Lexus in front of her, which in turn caused it to rear-end my car.

Lessons Learned:
1.) Do not use a cellphone or apply hand lotion while you are driving.
2.) Do not complain about tax deductions on your paycheck because those taxes pay the salaries of police officers, firemen and paramedics who are there as soon as you need them and do a great job of making sure you are safe. I was VERY IMPRESSED by their efficiency and their level of customer service.
3.) Have your driver’s license, car registration, and insurance information with you at all times. Make sure they are all current. (I had an expired insurance card with me (it expired a few weeks ago) – luckily the officer only needed my policy number since I was the one hit and not the one that hit someone else).
4.) Always bring your cellphone (which I had) so you can call 911 and your hubby; and a camera (which I didn’t have) to take pictures of the damages.
5.) Do not panic even if it’s the first that comes to mind!


mom said...

Thank God you are safe. I must admit that was a real scary experience, but I too am impressed at the speed and efficiency of the law enforcers and medical personnel in the U.S. Such experiences are an eye opener and a very effective teacher of what to do and not to do in similar situations. Hopefully there will be no need for future use of such knowledge. I hope and pray that everyone concerned is safe and well.

leslie ty said...

I'm really glad you're okay Jo! You scared me a little bit when I read the title of your blog...Thank God you got home safe and sound...

I hope the pregnant girl is okay. I think she got too stressed out since it was her fault. Sana she will not be that careless especially since she's pregnant!

How's Sander? =)

Auntie Lillian said...

Joanne, sorry to hear about the car accident but glad to know that you are okay . The lessons to be learned are all true - and unfortunately, some of us don't follow it, now we will. Thanks for your advice.

joyeee said...

Aww....poor Sander....Good thing he's covered by the insurance! haha :) And good thing ofcourse that you're okay! :) I like the part when the police/ambulanc/paramedics all rushed to the scene. It sounds so unbelievable especially with how the police/ambulance acts here! Next time, bring a camera! :)

Joanne said...

Thanks everyone for your concern. I'm okay and Sander is okay too. We just need to get him patched up and he'll be as good as new! =)

And yes, Joy, it kinda is a little unbelievable to see the officers move so professionally and efficiently ... so unlike our experience back home! =) Yup, I will try to bring my camera from now on too.

Anonymous said...

sounded that you are ok, fact very calm, thus, you handled the situation with flying colors. however, was this the first? or praktisado ka na???? see u in a couple