You may or may not know about my recent accident.
It happened on April 1st. The irony was all too well apparent when I had to call my husband and loved ones and inform them about the accident. They all thought I was joking. I don’t blame them. I have a pretty decent driving history. That and I was driving my three month old Jeep. Practically new, with five thousand miles on it.
A total loss. That’s what the insurance companies call it. And it feels that way. It feels like I have lost a piece of myself. I know that’s a cliché thing to say, but after being a part of the Jeep culture for the past four years, it feels wrong to not be in a Jeep. I have to physically resist the urge to wave at Jeeps I pass them. I look at the beautiful weather and mourn the fact that I could have had my top off, enjoying spring, arguably some of the best weather of the year here in Texas. I browse through Facebook and see countless pictures of Jeeps off-roading and my chest feels hollow. A total loss.
How did it happen? They say not to admit fault, so I’ll just say I’m being held liable for the accident. I was driving home from work, traffic was moving at a decent pace, and then there was this car, just stopped. There’s an exit ramp that sometimes backs up and people try to cut around the traffic, so they drive in the lane next to the exit and then slow down or stop until they can force their way in. I don’t know if that’s what this person was doing, but their car was stopped and by the time I realized it, there was nothing I could do. I crammed on my brakes and it still wasn’t enough, so in a last ditch effort, I swerved.
It still wasn’t enough.
The front passenger side of my Jeep hit the rear driver side of the car and there was a terrible noise and I knew that this was not good. But my Jeep didn’t stop moving. Something about the impact made my Jeep go airborne. And then the Jeep landed. Not on all four wheels, but on the driver side of my Jeep, near the top. I had nearly completely flipped over, but instead, the Jeep landed on its side and skidded along the pavement. The glass shattered and all I could do was turn my head to keep the shards from hitting my face. Or worse, my face from hitting the pavement if my Jeep crashed into something else. It never occurred to me once as my Jeep was flying through the air or slamming into the ground, broken glass flying all around me, that I wouldn’t walk away, that I could die. It may have been my own ignorance, or maybe a testament to the confidence I had in my Jeep, but the main thought in my mind was, “This sucks.”
When all the noise and the movement stopped, I don’t know how long I sat in my Jeep, stunned, until someone pulled the soft top open and I said, “Call the Police.” But the Police were already at the scene. I shakily climbed out of the torn and tattered soft top and looked around, said a few choice words, and called my husband. My arm was bleeding but I was okay. No broken bones, no lasting scars. Just some glass embedded in my arm, neck, and hair.
Three other cars were involved in my accident, hitting each other while they tried to avoid my airborne Jeep. No one died or had life threatening injuries, and that was what was important to me. After my husband arrived to take care of things and I made sure the people in the other vehicles had the help they needed, I took an ambulance to the nearest emergency room. They told me I was the first person to ride in that ambulance. I guess that was interesting. I’d never ridden in an ambulance before. I didn’t really need to go to the hospital, but we weren’t sure at the time. They said by the severity of my accident, I should probably go get checked out, but I was fine. Scratches, bruises, and sore muscles. The Police told me it was a good thing I was wearing my seatbelt. Then I got a citation for the accident.
So now what? Unfortunately, we won’t be getting the same exact Jeep we had. We will have to settle for a lesser model. As much as we wanted to, our Jeep did depreciate a little bit, and with what we’re getting back from insurance, we just can’t afford it. With two Jeep Jamborees coming up and other trips planned, we need to get into a Jeep soon, but all we can do right now is wait on the insurance. The waiting is the hardest part right now. The stress and anxiety, not knowing how much or when. It’s difficult.
When I see a Jeep drive by, top off, owner enjoying the beautiful spring weather, it’s even harder.
Since the accident, I’ve been trying to pick up the pieces and deal with my situation. The day after the accident, my husband’s grandfather died and we went back home to spend time with family and go to the funeral. Dealing with so much loss in such a short period of time, it was rough. I missed some posts I’d planned, some things I wanted to do. We were supposed to go on a trip to Big Bend National Park last week. That’ll have to happen next year maybe. I’m working to stay motivated, get back into my life, and do bigger and better things. When we went to the salvage yard to get some things out of the Jeep, the lady working there looked me over and said, “I saw your Jeep and had no idea anyone walked out of that wreck okay. The fact that you are still here today proves that you still have great things to accomplish in your life.”
I usually don’t believe in that stuff, but a near death experience tends to get you thinking. Believe or not, I guess I’d better get started.