A Wake-up Call

 

Friday we were rear-ended. It was a relatively uneventful encounter, but it was very strange and disconcerting at the same time.

We had just pulled into a parking space at Publix. Unlike 99% of the time when we go to the market when we drive my husband’s little Nissan 370Z, we were in our Hyundai Sonata sedan. As my husband turned off the engine, we were hit, the loudness and impact startling me; I couldn’t figure out what had happened. My husband calmly said we’ve been hit.

He left the car first, and I sat a moment to collect myself, trying to figure out how we’d been rear-ended in a parking space. Finally, as I looked out the rear window, I realized that the young, slightly overweight woman behind our car was deeply distressed; I then realized that in leaving her parking space directly opposite ours she hadn’t checked her rearview mirror. The space which had been empty moments before now had our car in it.

Jerry asked me to get out of the car and look at the rear-end. Thank goodness for the excellent manufacturing of rear-end bumpers! There wasn’t even a scratch. (If we had been in the Nissan—I’d rather not think about it.)

Meanwhile, the young woman was beside herself, worried whether we were okay, mumbling about her mother in the hospital and other distressing life issues that were overwhelming her. But I interrupted her. I said, “What’s important is that we are all okay. And you must, must also, pay attention when you are driving, or you won’t be available for your mother.” She looked at me, nodded silently, and we all went on our way.

Hours later I realized that there were some important messages I could glean from the incident. I decided I’d benefit from calling it a “wake-up call,” not just for the young woman, but for us, too. How odd that we had driven a car that we normally wouldn’t have driven to the market. How odd that we were harmlessly rear-ended when we were legally parked in our space. What was my wake-up call?

  • That when we are overloaded with information, civic disruption, crumbling of social mores, we are likely to numb our senses and become indifferent to our own personal life challenges, like sitting behind the wheel of a car;
  • That we can spend a lot of time complaining and wringing our hands without developing creative solutions to the issues that plague our country; @iwe  called for commenters to contribute solutions in his latest post, to be assertive and creative;
  • That we can discourage each other from coming up with new ideas, because they don’t seem practical;
  • That we can become reticent about developing solutions because sometimes our own colleagues tell us that it’s too late.

My wake-up call is an important one for me. I like to both call out our enemies, but also be a cheerleader to those who become discouraged. But somehow, I believe, that isn’t enough. Maybe it is enough. But I’m just not sure.

I think I must at least ask myself, each and every day, what else I can be doing, even in small ways, to help save this country. I want to see that as an obligation, a commitment, even a spiritual act. If all of us take these steps, we just might begin to turn things around.

It will be hard work, but the country, and we as its citizens, are worth it.

Let’s wake up!

[photo from unsplash.com]

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  1. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas Pratt
    @DouglasPratt

    Well said, as always, Susan. I’m glad you share your thoughts like this.

    I was rear-ended while stopped at a red light four years ago. It was traumatic because it was the first accident in 55 years of driving. Not my fault, insurance took care of everything, and my Transit Connect is the perfect vehicle for rear-end accidents because it’s front wheel drive. One of the rear doors still closes hard but that’s the worst residue of the event. Still, I resented it because it ruined my no-accident record, and I have great affection for this car (his name is Orville). (Yes, I am an adult, and yes, I talk to cars. Laugh all you want but he has never stranded me, even when we had to limp to a gas station in second gear because it was the only one working. I try to treat my cars well, and I believe they return the favor.)

     

    • #1
  2. Lawst N. Thawt Coolidge
    Lawst N. Thawt
    @LawstNThawt

    I’m glad everyone is okay.  I’m guessing the young lady did indeed have a wake-up call or hope she did.  Something so simple can change the course of life. 

    I don’t like the idea of having enemies so I just have misguided friends.  I think on some level, even the ones that might be real mortal enemies, are still just misguided.  

    • #2
  3. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    Well said, as always, Susan. I’m glad you share your thoughts like this.

    I was rear-ended while stopped at a red light four years ago. It was traumatic because it was the first accident in 55 years of driving. Not my fault, insurance took care of everything, and my Transit Connect is the perfect vehicle for rear-end accidents because it’s front wheel drive. One of the rear doors still closes hard but that’s the worst residue of the event. Still, I resented it because it ruined my no-accident record, and I have great affection for this car (his name is Orville). (Yes, I am an adult, and yes, I talk to cars. Laugh all you want but he has never stranded me, even when we had to limp to a gas station in second gear because it was the only one working. I try to treat my cars well, and I believe they return the favor.)

     

    Doug, I think naming cars is a “guy thing”; I was never so inclined. We did name our GPS/Android Auto “Sophia”; we were tossing around names and I don’t know which of us picked that one. I think it was based on friends who called their GPS “the b**tch in the box.” Cracked me up! Also I must say I do love the name Orville, and I’m glad you were okay.

    • #3
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Lawst N. Thawt (View Comment):

    I’m glad everyone is okay. I’m guessing the young lady did indeed have a wake-up call or hope she did. Something so simple can change the course of life.

    I don’t like the idea of having enemies so I just have misguided friends. I think on some level, even the ones that might be real mortal enemies, are still just misguided.

    I guess we’ll have to differ there, Lawst. Enemy may be too strong a word for some of them, but I use the word “friend” very stingily in any format. Maybe “adversary” might be a better choice.

    I do hope the young lady will be more careful. She might very well have had a family depending on her, too.

    • #4
  5. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Oh, Susan.  I’m just glad everyone was OK and there was little to no damage to the vehicles.  The consequences of a moment’s thought or inattention can be devastating.  I’m glad you were parked and rear-ended, rather than that you were driving up the row behind her and broadsided.

    It is, indeed, a wake-up call, on all sides.

    • #5
  6. Lawst N. Thawt Coolidge
    Lawst N. Thawt
    @LawstNThawt

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Lawst N. Thawt (View Comment):

    I’m glad everyone is okay. I’m guessing the young lady did indeed have a wake-up call or hope she did. Something so simple can change the course of life.

    I don’t like the idea of having enemies so I just have misguided friends. I think on some level, even the ones that might be real mortal enemies, are still just misguided.

    I guess we’ll have to differ there, Lawst. Enemy may be too strong a word for some of them, but I use the word “friend” very stingily in any format. Maybe “adversary” might be a better choice.

    I do hope the young lady will be more careful. She might very well have had a family depending on her, too.

    It’s a fundamental distinction between defeating and converting.  In the end, there will be some who are defeated, but I do hope most are converted.  

    • #6
  7. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member
    9thDistrictNeighbor
    @9thDistrictNeighbor

    Another lesson to take is that first impressions can be deceiving.  Perhaps there is no damage to either car, but underneath the surface there could be problems that will show up when you least expect it.  Having been rear ended a couple of times (at railroad crossings, of all places) what may look like minimal damage can end up costing more than a thousand dollars.

    Perhaps the overwhelm and distress the other woman was manifesting only became apparent to her when she hit your car.  Her internal trouble was hidden as well.

     

    • #7
  8. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    As I read your post I thought: Make sure someone/anyone understands that you are not indifferent to what’s happening in the country. Which then led me to think: What is the antonym for “indifference”? “Difference”? No, that can’t be it. (No one would understand a slogan “Demonstrate Difference” as the opposite of “Demonstrate Indifference”.) So I looked it up online. Gulp, 2688 antonyms for “indifference”. Kind of a dry hole there. So here are some other T-shirt/Bumper Sticker thoughts: “My Mask is Not a Gag, Deal with It”. “Freedom Is Not Slavery, War Is Not Peace, and Ignorance Is Not Strength”. “Your Horse Barely Made It to the Finish Line, Why Are You Doing a Victory Lap?” “Dim Bulbs Throw More Shade than Light”.  “If You Humiliate Me You Better Kill Me”.”I Can Remember When Common Sense Was Common”. “If Tomorrow Never Comes, It’s On You”. “‘Karen’ Is the Nicest Thing I Can Call You”. “‘Live and Let Live’ Isn’t a Request”. 

    • #8
  9. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Rodin (View Comment):

    As I read your post I thought: Make sure someone/anyone understands that you are not indifferent to what’s happening in the country. Which then led me to think: What is the antonym for “indifference”? “Difference”? No, that can’t be it. (No one would understand a slogan “Demonstrate Difference” as the opposite of “Demonstrate Indifference”.) So I looked it up online. Gulp, 2688 antonyms for “indifference”. Kind of a dry hole there. So here are some other T-shirt/Bumper Sticker thoughts: “My Mask is Not a Gag, Deal with It”. “Freedom Is Not Slavery, War Is Not Peace, and Ignorance Is Not Strength”. “Your Horse Barely Made It to the Finish Line, Why Are You Doing a Victory Lap?” “Dim Bulbs Throw More Shade than Light”. “If You Humiliate Me You Better Kill Me”.”I Can Remember When Common Sense Was Common”. “If Tomorrow Never Comes, It’s On You”. “‘Karen’ Is the Nicest Thing I Can Call You”. “‘Live and Let Live’ Isn’t a Request”.

    You missed your calling! Especially the one I put in bold! You did intend the double meaning, right?

    • #9
  10. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    9thDistrictNeighbor (View Comment):

    Another lesson to take is that first impressions can be deceiving. Perhaps there is no damage to either car, but underneath the surface there could be problems that will show up when you least expect it. Having been rear ended a couple of times (at railroad crossings, of all places) what may look like minimal damage can end up costing more than a thousand dollars.

    Perhaps the overwhelm and distress the other woman was manifesting only became apparent to her when she hit your car. Her internal trouble was hidden as well.

     

    Indeed.  The plastic surface may look undamaged, but the metal body parts underneath could be a different story.  Part of what makes modern cars seem “undamaged” in such situations is that they are designed with “crumple zones” etc, and that might have taken the impact even if it’s not visible now.  That should be checked carefully, the bumper or at least the underlying parts of it may have to be repaired or replaced.  If they aren’t, the NEXT time they get hit, the results could be very different.

    • #10
  11. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    I’m very touched about your concern for the integrity of our car. My husband, an engineer by training who’s worked on his share of cars over the years, assures me that we weren’t hit hard enough to be concerned. I trust his judgment. 

    • #11
  12. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Okay.  When I see “rear-ended” I don’t think “just a tap.”

    • #12
  13. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Okay. When I see “rear-ended” I don’t think “just a tap.”

    It was more than a tap, but less than a crash.

    • #13
  14. drlorentz Member
    drlorentz
    @drlorentz

    Susan Quinn: we were in our Hyundai Sonata sedan.

    This caught my eye inasmuch as we were rear-ended in my wife’s Hyundai Sonata on Main Street, downtown Moab, UT. You see, we were on a road trip visiting national parks in the area, specifically Arches National Park. It did some damage to the car but not quite enough to wreck the trip; we could still continue. The other driver (a local) seemed annoyed at first, having had an accident with one of these annoying out-of-towners, but quickly became reasonable. We exchanged information and went on our way.

    That has been my experience in every accident I’ve had over the years. No one has ever been seriously injured in any of these and everyone was civil and cooperative. On another occasion, some guy with a tow truck stopped to sweep away the accident’s debris from the street with a big broom. He left before I could thank him. As angry as people seem to be in politics online, they seem to be quite wonderful in real life.

    Regarding the possible cost of damage, both times our Hyundai Sonata was rear- ended, the damage was well over $1000. One of those times, a car merely rolled into the Sonata while we were both stopped at a red light. Consider the advice others have given on this thread.

    • #14
  15. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    drlorentz (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn: we were in our Hyundai Sonata sedan.

    This caught my eye inasmuch as we were rear-ended in my wife’s Hyundai Sonata on Main Street, downtown Moab, UT. You see, we were on a road trip visiting national parks in the area, specifically Arches National Park. It did some damage to the car but not quite enough to wreck the trip; we could still continue. The other driver (a local) seemed annoyed at first, having had an accident with one of these annoying out-of-towners, but quickly became reasonable. We exchanged information and went on our way.

    That has been my experience in every accident I’ve had over the years. No one has ever been seriously injured in any of these and everyone was civil and cooperative. On another occasion, some guy with a tow truck stopped to sweep away the accident’s debris from the street with a big broom. He left before I could thank him. As angry as people seem to be in politics online, they seem to be quite wonderful in real life.

    Regarding the possible cost of damage, both times our Hyundai Sonata was rear- ended, the damage was well over $1000. One of those times, a car merely rolled into the Sonata while we were both stopped at a red light. Consider the advice others have given on this thread.

    When I lived in Arizona, it seemed rather common for one or both of the drivers to jump out of their car and head for the border.

    • #15
  16. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    drlorentz (View Comment):
    Regarding the possible cost of damage, both times our Hyundai Sonata was rear- ended, the damage was well over $1000. One of those times, a car merely rolled into the Sonata while we were both stopped at a red light. Consider the advice others have given on this thread.

    Just curious–was the damage visible, @drlorentz? Was more than the bumper damaged?

    • #16
  17. drlorentz Member
    drlorentz
    @drlorentz

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    drlorentz (View Comment):
    Regarding the possible cost of damage, both times our Hyundai Sonata was rear- ended, the damage was well over $1000. One of those times, a car merely rolled into the Sonata while we were both stopped at a red light. Consider the advice others have given on this thread.

    Just curious–was the damage visible, @ drlorentz? Was more than the bumper damaged?

    In the first instance (Moab), the damage was visible and significant; the other car was not moving slowly. In the second instance, there was little damage evident since the other car was just rolling forward; we were both nominally stopped at a red light.

    Does your back-up camera look okay? Correct alignment, in focus. I don’t recall the details but there was damage beneath the outer plastic bumper.

    • #17
  18. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    drlorentz (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    drlorentz (View Comment):
    Regarding the possible cost of damage, both times our Hyundai Sonata was rear- ended, the damage was well over $1000. One of those times, a car merely rolled into the Sonata while we were both stopped at a red light. Consider the advice others have given on this thread.

    Just curious–was the damage visible, @ drlorentz? Was more than the bumper damaged?

    In the first instance (Moab), the damage was visible and significant; the other car was not moving slowly. In the second instance, there was little damage evident since the other car was just rolling forward; we were both nominally stopped at a red light.

    Does your back-up camera look okay? Correct alignment, in focus. I don’t recall the details but there was damage beneath the outer plastic bumper.

    Thanks for the input. Yes, the camera is fine, and there was no damage at all.

    Edit: I did want to add that it’s quite amazing how civil people can be in these incidents. I think how we approach them, our manner, sets the tone, even if they’re ready for a fight.

    • #18
  19. Matt Bartle Member
    Matt Bartle
    @MattBartle

    Wow, all that from a little tap in a parking lot?? I confess I find that somewhat bewildering.

    But I’m a guy, and I don’t dig into things more than I have to. If it happened to me my reaction would have been more like:

    “Everybody OK? Car’s OK? All right then.” And I would have carried on with my day and not given it a second thought.

     

    • #19
  20. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Matt Bartle (View Comment):

    Wow, all that from a little tap in a parking lot?? I confess I find that somewhat bewildering.

    But I’m a guy, and I don’t dig into things more than I have to. If it happened to me my reaction would have been more like:

    “Everybody OK? Car’s OK? All right then.” And I would have carried on with my day and not given it a second thought.

     

    My husband is probably bewildered by my reaction, too. And I don’t philosophize over everything that happens in my life. But there are those moments when something in me gets triggered, and I like to look into it.

    Maybe it’s a girl thing.

    • #20
  21. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    drlorentz (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    drlorentz (View Comment):
    Regarding the possible cost of damage, both times our Hyundai Sonata was rear- ended, the damage was well over $1000. One of those times, a car merely rolled into the Sonata while we were both stopped at a red light. Consider the advice others have given on this thread.

    Just curious–was the damage visible, @ drlorentz? Was more than the bumper damaged?

    In the first instance (Moab), the damage was visible and significant; the other car was not moving slowly. In the second instance, there was little damage evident since the other car was just rolling forward; we were both nominally stopped at a red light.

    Does your back-up camera look okay? Correct alignment, in focus. I don’t recall the details but there was damage beneath the outer plastic bumper.

    Yes, the “crumple zones” etc are not always visible.  Also the way cars are designed now, to be aerodynamic and fuel-efficient and stuff, the bumper type areas are more subject to damage even from a “tap” than in prior generations.  You can find – or at least used to be able to find – data on “5mph collision tests” for different makes/models, and how much damage typically resulted in each case.  But little changes can make a big difference.  A car that shows “no damage” from a 5mph “tap” straight on, bumper to bumper, might have thousands of $ in damage if there is even a slight angle of “attack” or if one of the bumpers is higher than the other.  And, as you mentioned, the plastic aerodynamic covers can easily conceal damage to the metal shock-absorbing parts underneath.  Once those are damaged, the NEXT time they are hit you get different results.

    • #21
  22. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill
    @CarolJoy

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    Well said, as always, Susan. I’m glad you share your thoughts like this.

    I was rear-ended while stopped at a red light four years ago. It was traumatic because it was the first accident in 55 years of driving. Not my fault, insurance took care of everything, and my Transit Connect is the perfect vehicle for rear-end accidents because it’s front wheel drive. One of the rear doors still closes hard but that’s the worst residue of the event. Still, I resented it because it ruined my no-accident record, and I have great affection for this car (his name is Orville). (Yes, I am an adult, and yes, I talk to cars. Laugh all you want but he has never stranded me, even when we had to limp to a gas station in second gear because it was the only one working. I try to treat my cars well, and I believe they return the favor.)

     

    Being my father’s daughter, I must add: “Talking to your car is fine. Only worry about it if you hear it talking back to you.”
    Of course, my dad came up with these quips  long before the advent of Alexa and Siri. So I guess you are fine even if your car does reply.

    • #22
  23. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill (View Comment):

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    Well said, as always, Susan. I’m glad you share your thoughts like this.

    I was rear-ended while stopped at a red light four years ago. It was traumatic because it was the first accident in 55 years of driving. Not my fault, insurance took care of everything, and my Transit Connect is the perfect vehicle for rear-end accidents because it’s front wheel drive. One of the rear doors still closes hard but that’s the worst residue of the event. Still, I resented it because it ruined my no-accident record, and I have great affection for this car (his name is Orville). (Yes, I am an adult, and yes, I talk to cars. Laugh all you want but he has never stranded me, even when we had to limp to a gas station in second gear because it was the only one working. I try to treat my cars well, and I believe they return the favor.)

     

    Being my father’s daughter, I must add: “Talking to your car is fine. Only worry about it if you hear it talking back to you.”
    Of course, my dad came up with these quips long before the advent of Alexa and Siri. So I guess you are fine even if your car does reply.

    Well, that’s not really the car talking back.

    • #23
  24. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    kedavis (View Comment):

    drlorentz (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    drlorentz (View Comment):
    Regarding the possible cost of damage, both times our Hyundai Sonata was rear- ended, the damage was well over $1000. One of those times, a car merely rolled into the Sonata while we were both stopped at a red light. Consider the advice others have given on this thread.

    Just curious–was the damage visible, @ drlorentz? Was more than the bumper damaged?

    In the first instance (Moab), the damage was visible and significant; the other car was not moving slowly. In the second instance, there was little damage evident since the other car was just rolling forward; we were both nominally stopped at a red light.

    Does your back-up camera look okay? Correct alignment, in focus. I don’t recall the details but there was damage beneath the outer plastic bumper.

    Yes, the “crumple zones” etc are not always visible. Also the way cars are designed now, to be aerodynamic and fuel-efficient and stuff, the bumper type areas are more subject to damage even from a “tap” than in prior generations. You can find – or at least used to be able to find – data on “5mph collision tests” for different makes/models, and how much damage typically resulted in each case. But little changes can make a big difference. A car that shows “no damage” from a 5mph “tap” straight on, bumper to bumper, might have thousands of $ in damage if there is even a slight angle of “attack” or if one of the bumpers is higher than the other. And, as you mentioned, the plastic aerodynamic covers can easily conceal damage to the metal shock-absorbing parts underneath. Once those are damaged, the NEXT time they are hit you get different results.

    This exactly. It might be worthwhile to have a trusted mechanic check the actual safety structures under the plastic cover.

    • #24