Big One and I took a road trip this week and a truck smashed into us on I-90 just east of Ashtabula. Big One has her new license and was looking forward to “being big” – driving on the highway in the United States. She drove for a few hours on the highway in three states (New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio) on Interstate 90. Everything was terrific. She was confident, proud, and calm. Here’s the story in her words:
I was driving along, feeling good. I was thinking how my driving instructor taught me to check my rearview mirror every 9 seconds, and how I am supposed to sweep from side mirror to front to rearview mirror to be aware of everything around me. I realized this is now a habit and I don’t have to think about it like I did when I first started driving. I looked in the mirror and nothing was there, and the next time I looked I saw the truck coming right through my window. I hit the gas trying to speed up, but it wasn’t enough and he hit us.
Here’s the story in the other driver’s words:
I’m so sorry. I fell asleep at the wheel and when I opened my eyes, I saw a big white thing right in my window and realized it was your car. I didn’t think I was that tired. I worked a long shift, but I felt alert. I had just talked to my wife on the phone and was happy that I was only a few miles from my exit.
Our car has a lot of damage and is only 4 weeks old. That is the bad news. This is why I consider it a fortunate accident:
- Big One kept control of the car and didn’t swerve into the semi-truck on the left or the cement bridge on the right.
- Nobody was hurt.
- I was with her to comfort her after we stopped.
- Big One realized she learned from her instructor about control and keeping her head when things go wrong.
- The man who hit us was kind, and sorry, and normal. A regular hard-working guy who had a long day.
- It was a hot summer night so standing on the side of the road was not torture.
- The policeman who took Big One’s statement asked me to sit with her in the cruiser.
- We called home and got sympathy and comfort from my husband and Little One.
- If the truck hadn’t hit us, he could have gone off the road and rolled.
- When we got to our destination at 1:30 a.m., my parents were sitting outside on the curb waiting up for us and let Big One tell her story even though they were exhausted.
There will be pain and annoyance with insurance companies, but the car will be fixed. Knowing she had people caring for her at home, at her destination, and in the car with her turned a potential horrible situation into a fortunate accident for Big One.