The story.

11 06 2010

This is kind of long. Sorry about that…

Yesterday morning, on my way to my class I was involved in a craptastic accident that rendered my Midgie unable to drive. It’s been just over 24 hours, and OMG I miss my Midgie. I’m not kidding or exaggerating here. I miss her.

For some background: I enter the Parkway East/I-376 outbound at the Wilkinsburg on ramp. The road is three lanes there, the far right lane exiting to Churchill just at the top of the hill. It then goes to two lanes for a very short while, and a new third lane is introduced when the Churchill on ramp enters on the LEFT. (ie. No merging required immediately. Those from Churchill ideally just drive along in their own new third lane.) Also, just after this on ramp, there is the Monroeville/Business 22 exit on the right.

I-376 has been under some form of construction for what seems like FOREVER. And the brilliant minds that run PennDot decided that this year, they would not only plop a stop sign down at the end on the Churchill on ramp (the one on the LEFT,) but also nearly immediately block off that new 3rd lane.

I seem to spend an unbelievable amount of time lately on the outbound Parkway East towards Monroeville – for school (every Tuesday through Thursday,) rugby, shopping, and random other things… And nearly every time, I pass this area in the RIGHT lane… This brilliant combo of stop sign and traffic cones has resulted in one of two things:

  • The on ramp from Churchill is backed up to who-knows-where because people are cautious at the stop sign.
  • The on ramp is near empty because the drivers on the on ramp take chances and jump into traffic. Sometimes flooring it to get up to speed, and sometimes joining more slowly.This morning, as I joined traffic on the parkway and merged into the middle lane, there was a big ol’ box-type truck in front of me – driving below the speed limit. I signaled and moved to the left lane.

I was easily 300-400 feet or more behind the car in front of me. As we approached the Churchill on ramp, I happened to notice a car entering skipping the stop sign and VERY SLOWLY joining the lane of traffic I was in… And by very slowly, I mean OMG. WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU ARE DOING!? SLOW. Or simply, at a snail’s pace.

I quickly looked back to my right to see if I could change lanes. Nope. Too many vehicles, going faster than we were in the left lane. I turn back to see brake lights on the car in front of me. I used every ounce of pressure I had & weight in my legs & body to hit my brakes – I couldn’t swerve right or left – right was into that fast line of vehicles and left was either into the jersey barrier or another car coming from the on ramp.

So I rear-ended the guy in front of me. Great. (I drive a 2005 Chevy Aveo hatchback. Tiny car…. TINY. People call it “mouse” or “midget,” thus the name, Midgie… The car in front of me? A Dodge Caliber. Apparently it’s a very sturdy car. Midgie did nearly no damage to the rear bumper… It was dented, but still attached and no where near the damage the Midgie experienced in any way, shape or form.)

I then heard brakes screeching. I look in my rear view mirror and see a ginormous truck – something like a Ford F-150 or bigger/similar – barreling for me and then breaking right into that speedy traffic. Horns ensue… Right after that I see ANOTHER huge truck, same situation, but he breaks left and his maneuvering around the traffic on the ramp, the barrier and us was amazing.

I’m still in the left lane, so I manage, no idea how – Midgie didn’t want to move at. all – to get into that “protected” construction lane on the left, behind the guy I hit. I get out to make sure the other driver is okay, and an Einstein from the inbound lane tells me my car is smoking… No, really? Gee, I thought it was fog, just centered on my car… I didn’t notice that I just hit someone, my hood is buckled, and my car is not being driven anywhere, anytime soon. Moron.

Other driver is okay, apologizes for slamming on brakes because of the 3rd party entering the parkway at such a slow rate. I’m already dialing 911, and my car continues to smoke.

Oh, crap, I think, I might need/want some of the stuff in my car in case it blows up! You know, like my school bag (which today, of all days, contained my netbook, along with my wallet, iPod and all my class materials and such. Yikes.)

While I explain to the 911 operator what happened, I start grabbing any miscellaneous plastic shopping bags I can find and stuff anything I’ve left in the car (jackets, big a** rugby boots, my bio book on lend from the library!!, etc) or will need (insurance & maintenance info) that I can see that I might need/want/not want to burn in a fire… By this time, I’ve got two shopping bags crammed with “essentials,” have everything outside of my vehicle, and I have been transferred to AAA to arrange a tow…

As you saw yesterday, the Midgie was a hawt mess – she was also leaking fluids. I didn’t even think to take pics of the leaks or the sides of the Midgie… I was honestly happy to be alive… And, proud that I didn’t just burst into tears at any point…

I spoke to the guy I hit again – he’s from Germany and is here to do an internship for a company that happened to be right near CCAC Boyce campus. We talked and he offered to drop me off so that I could attend class, which he did and I am SO very grateful. He was a very nice guy, and I feel bad because he didn’t have a number for his office to tell them he was in an accident and was going to be late, especially because he took the time to drive me to my class.

I ended up lucking out and Mechanical Engineer was available to pick me up from class. It took forever to file the insurance claim, and my insurance company called 5 different rental car locations before they found a car. But I had to wait until nearly 5pm to have a vehicle available…

I’m so used to driving the Midgie that I’m seriously uncomfortable in this rental. I feel like I’m sitting on the street surface while I drive. Ugh.

I’m due for some awesomely good karma for the next few weeks, right??? Right????



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