I had a car accident.
Or put more accurately, a car accident almost had me.
The graphic above shows what happened apart from one detail: we were tail-ended by a truck. A very, very big truck.
Here’s pretty much word for word my description to the insurance claims officer as to precisely what took place –
I was in ‘pole position’ (meaning first in line), sitting stationary at a red set of traffic lights. For approximately 15 seconds prior to the accident, a large Isuzu truck had been in line behind me, also waiting for the light to change. As truck drivers seem fond of doing, this oversized vehicle was resting so close behind me I could practically feel the drivers breath on the back of my neck as I sat waiting for the light to change. Suddenly, with the lights still red, I felt and heard an almighty crash-bang impact to our car from behind.
The hit from behind felt more like we’d been the target of a shoulder-fired RPG (rocket-propelled grenade). For an instant, it felt like our car was in the grip of a magnitude 9.5 earthquake. The back windscreen instantly shattered into tens of thousands of tiny shards of plastisized glass and the explosive noise of that was one of, if not the loudest, sounds I’ve ever heard in my life.
And all because, in an ill-timed moment of relaxation, the truck driver behind me let his foot ease off/slip off the clutch. Well, that’s my theory anyway, and according to a number of people I’ve spoken to since, that is the only logical explanation for what happened. Because, important to note, the traffic light was most assuredly still red when the wallop happened. Thankfully I also have the name and address of a male witness who stopped at the scene who’s prepared to vouch for that if the need arises.
Did I mention that my seven-year old daughter, still dressed in her pyjamas, was in the back seat at the time? Safe to say, she took a lot more of the impact than I did. Don’t think I’ll ever forget the look on the truckie’s face after he’d approached my driver’s side window to exchange details and saw her perched smiling in the backseat with a slightly perplexed though calm look on her face gazing up at him. Both my daughter and I sustained no injuries but my wife and I have since taken our daughter to the doctor for a precautionary checkup and been given the all clear.
Mercifully the insurance claim process (we’re with the company with the two joined pronouns for a name plus the slogan “We get you”) has been pretty painless to this point. Although we do have to wait 17 days until our car can be fitted into the insurance company’s preferred repairers’ overtasked schedule for a new back windscreen fit.
That means we faced the prospect of driving around for the next fortnight and more, sans rear window. That was until my wife came up with what I think to be a rather novel and cost-effective solution to our missing back window problem. At her prompting, I have now affixed, with water-proof taping, two study-desk plastic place mats we just happened to have lying around at home to the gaping space. They’re see-through and now secured in place with the tape to serve as our temporary back windscreen. From a distance you can’t even notice anything is different.
Necessity (and penny-pinching DIY) is the mother of invention.