Today started out like any Saturday. I was getting myself out the door for my morning Mandarin Class and was looking forward to yet another Dot Com Pho. However, today slowed to a grinding halt as an accident five minutes away from my house seriously injured my friend and companion for over seven years: My 2000 Subaru Impreza Wagon.
I was driving up the main road near my house and things fell apart at the very first intersection. It didn't help that it was a wet and miserable day, which seems typical of Vancouver weather these days. It also made slick slicker so any stupidity is that much harder to avoid.
Coming up on the intersection, I notice two cars stuck behind a bus to the right, and traffic coming through on the left. People were getting on and it looked like both cars were patiently waiting to get around the bus. Neither of them had their blinkers on to turn out yet as there were still cars going by. As I come up on the green light on the other side of the intersection, both cars (a Burgundy Mercedes Sedan and a Green Toyota Sienna Van) signalled to pull out, but the Mercedes signalled first and had already advanced and was halfway on top of the Van. I was probably two to four car lengths away and had just entered the intersection. The Mercedes was good to go and was already straightened out and on its way.
Suddenly, the stupid twit in the Sienna decides it wants to pull out on top of the Mercedes. The Mercedes brakes hard and stops in time, but just barely. The Sienna stops dead in the middle of the road because it finally realizes what a wanker manouveur that was. However, about two car lengths away, also hitting the brakes hard was me. Unfortunately, as I cross the marble slick painted white lines of the crosswalk, my car seemed to pick up speed as all the wheels locked up and I slide...and slide...and slide...whack!
It was like one of those slow motion "Oh Shit" moments where the only thing you could do was hold on and let it happen. I even had time to think about the oncoming traffic to the left, and a bus stop full of people on the right: both possible escape routes. In hindsight, I think my decision to not run into the people or drive myself into traffic was the right one.
Luckily, I seemed to be physically OK at the time, but I gotta tell you, it'll probably hurt tomorrow. I was really surprised that the AirBag did NOT go off. I sincerely hope that the AirBag would've worked if I really needed it. As I'm shaking off the impact, I see the Sienna peel out and drive away as the Mercedes guy gets out to confront him. Classy move there buddy!
The bus driver at the stop saw the Sienna pull right out in front of the Mercedes, but didn't see the fender bender between me and the Mercedes. She heard it though and came ripping right out of the bus to make sure everything was OK. She was really helpful and gave the Mercedes guy and me her information so that we could use her as a witness. She was equally peeved at the Sienna squeezing its way out and taking off like that.
The guy I hit was surprisingly civil towards me. He was upset that when he went to confront the Sienna driver, he could only grab the last three numbers of his license plate before he peeled off. He seemed more upset that he didn't hit him for being an idiot, pulling out without looking. As we sat in his car exchanging information, I couldn't help but notice that his car was pretty much brand new and I expressed my apologies for breaking in his car so quickly. I was surprised that he seemed more sorry for me and even told me not to worry about his car because he paid Mercedes extra for a total car replacement in case of an accident so he'll have a brand new car out of this...again. I hope he's still feeling the same way tomorrow. As someone who's been on the receiving end of a rear ender...twice...I know that the next few days can be painful. I really do hope he's OK. He's seemed like a really genuine guy.
I'm not going to pretend that I'm not at fault for the rear ender. As the last man in the chain, I am 100% at fault in the eyes of the insurance company no matter what the circumstances. The only ray of light is the fact that I've been no-fault accident free for over 13 years so I'll end up keeping my safe driving discount. I'm not sure if my car can be fixed right. It's pretty beat up. Maybe I'll be able to review a few cars in the coming weeks if I need to put the Subaru to rest. I'll keep you guys posted.