Friday, February 18, 2011

"A Total Wreck"

It's been a while since I've participated in the Flashback Friday meme...

I'd already been planning to jump back in this week, and when I saw the theme...
Thinking primarily of your growing-up years and your early years of driving, have you ever been in an auto accident? Were you a passenger or the driver? Were you injured? How badly was the car damaged? Whose fault was it? What was the attitude of your parents toward "fender benders" and tickets? Were minor dings and scrapes a big deal? Have you ever received a traffic ticket? If more than one, 'fess up: how many? Any warnings? Has a family member or close friend been seriously injured or killed in an accident? Have you ever witnessed a bad accident and stopped to render aid or give a statement? What role, if any, did seat belts and car seats have in your early years?
...I knew I HAD to because my nickname in younger days was CRASH!

I didn't actually get my driver's license until I was 18. For one thing, we didn't have a car so there was no big hurry. Also, the first time I attempted the driver's test at the requisite age of 16, I FAILED monumentally. In fact, the man administering the test may or may not have stumbled out of the car at the end of the test, pale and shaken by the experience. {ahem}

He was not the only one left pale and shaken -- it had been so traumatic I didn't even try again for two years. Then it became necessary because I was getting my first car! A couple in my church offered the use of their pick-up for the test, which made me rather nervous since it was a BIG vehicle. But it actually turned out to be a very good thing since it had me sitting up higher and I could see better, making parallel parking MUCH easier. I'm sure that's why I passed the test on that second try. 

I was so ready for my first car! Unfortunately I only had it eight days. While driving on a foggy night I drove off the road and straight into a ginormous boulder, shoving the drive train back into the trunk area. Ugh

A year later I was driving a beater (colloquialism for "car still on road but looks like it belongs in junkyard") and visiting my dad in the Detroit area. New Year's Eve we were on our way to visit friends and a Corvette flew by me, hit a patch of black ice and started turning circles right there in the middle of the road. There was no way I could avoid hitting it. Did you know Corvettes are mostly plastic? That car disintegrated into a gazillion bits. The driver jumped out and ran away! We waited over two hours for police who never came (it was New Year's Eve after all). Finally we just limped home, the beater still running although it was definitely listing to one side and made a funny noise. The police came by the next day for a statement at which time we found out the Corvette had been stolen, and that's why the guy ran away!

Now you know why my nickname was CRASH. {sigh}

I don't think I've ever gotten a ticket, although I've been pulled over a few times. Always received warnings and a pass. Whew!

But our family has not been untouched by serious accidents. Our son has a metal rod running from his hip to knee, received after T-boning a car and then careening into a stand of trees when he was 17. The memories of that first long night in the hospital will forever be imprinted on my memory. After seeing the car he'd been driving, we knew it was a miracle he even survived the accident.

Not sure about you, but I have a certain driving phobia. I cannot STAND to drive next to those big cement dividers on the interstate. They just give me the heebie-jeebies and I'd rather get in a slower lane behind a big old smoke-belching truck than drive next to those dividers. 

No one in my family likes riding with me. Which suits me fine. I don't mind being the perpetual passenger :)  After doing lots and lots and lots of driving over the years (back and forth from Michigan to Florida multiple times, to say nothing of all the shlepping of kids to piano and softball and choir and AWANA and...) I am quite content to let them do most of the driving now. 

As far as seat belts go, I don't remember using them at all until I was an adult and the government started using commercials to raise awareness. Like this one:

Which is pretty mild, compared to some of the scary ones they put out! I think Argentina needs to put together a similar advertising campaign. Hardly anyone uses seatbelts except on the interstate where you can be stopped and ticketed if you're not wearing one. But around town people don't bother. And while I know carseats are available (all the baby stores carry them) I've never actually seen one being used. NEVER! Most times kids are left completely untethered in a vehicle, free to move around -- or be thrown around which would be the case in an accident. {shudder}

If you have "A Total Wreck" story to share, hop on over to Mocha With Linda and join in!


Jim said...

Wow, a nice write-up Crash(ing) Kim! :D You sound sorta like my older daughter. She has ruined more cars almost than I have had.

I've driven in foreign countries but never in Argentina. Haven't been there yet. I think I'd rather public transportation there as it sounds rough!

rita said...

You have some good stories for this one. I couldn't think of any, so no entry again this week.
You buckle up and stay safe now ;)

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading your adventures, "Crash"! LOL It's always interesting hearing other people's stories. Have a great weekend :)

Mocha with Linda said...

Wow - what "adventures" you've had! So the boy's apple didn't fall far from the tree, huh?! :-) I'll give you a wide berth if we ever meet!

The thing that amazed my sister when she was in Ecuador were the people riding ON TOP OF the trains! And they would lie down when it would enter a tunnel!

skoots1mom said...

my goodness, so glad you weren't hurt in any of those incidents...a boulder, geez!
I'd be scared to drive in Argentina, too. Seat belts seemed not to be the thing in Mexico City either...
good post, JubiSista!

skoots1mom said...

p.s. i'm enjoying a cup of cafe' with a yummy chocolate-dipped chocolate/orange biscotti BS&K made for our prayer group last night...wish you were here to enjoy one with me

bp said...

I laughed at your definition of "beater." Thanks for sharing!

You have such a pretty blog background!


Mama Zen said...

I have the same phobia. I can't stand those cement dividers!

The Bug said...

It's a wonder you still drive at all after such a scary start! I had a minor accident when I was 16 - ran into one of the reflector posts on the side of the highway. And I've run into the back of a couple of cars (including a truck full of Zambians - they were laughing at me) - but I haven't serious damaged a vehicle yet.


That probably should have been my nickname least on years ending in 9..

Mari said...

Wow - I'm glad you survived those accidents without injury! I hate driving next to those cement dividers too - I'll be with you behind the slow truck!

Nel said...

Wow a boulder? So glad you are a survivor! I hate those cement things too, also hate driving next to semi's. Thanks for sharing Crash!
until next time... nel