I decided to post this account of my car accident of March 31, 2011, to warn other drivers who might not want to have their small car crushed by a giant silver behemoth of a truck, simply because they are driving up Kennedy Drive, on their way to Best Buy to purchase 3 flash drives. Not in any particular rush. Just 12 blocks or so away from home.
For those who live in the Illinois Quad Cities, I want to warn you of this “most dangerous” intersection…(or one of the most dangerous)…in the city. I mean, of course, 30th Avenue and Kennedy Drive, right where the Walgreen store sits. I was driving south toward the Jewel store on Kennedy Drive. I came to the intersection mentioned above and noticed that there were several cars in the left turn lane (which would be a turn to head your car toward Silvis, something I did every morning for 17 and ½ years, so I know that turn well).
I was paying attention. I was only driving 30 mph. You have to pay attention in the East Moline to Moline area, or you will be picked up for speeding. I try to always run radar. The border between Moline/East Moline on 30th Avenue as you drive towards Wilson Junior High School is particularly problematical.
There is a hill on 30th Avenue, or perhaps it is more accurate to call it a dip. As your car heads towards Moline (from East Moline) the speed limit drops from 35 mph in East Moline to 30 mph in Moline, with almost no marking. And this happens at the bottom of a hill. So, the police thoughtfully park their vehicles on a side street, wait for you to reach the bottom of the hill and (probably) move above 30 mph, so that they can give you a ticket for speeding.
At the bottom of said hill you are usually “fair game” to be picked up for speeding, since you may have inadvertently picked up speed as you coasted down the hill (it’s called gravity), and you are entering Moline’s 5 miles per hour slower speed limit, although you have not changed roads or directions. If this seems unfair to you, join the club. In order to be in strict compliance with the change in driving speed between Moline and East Moline, you’ll have to be applying your brake as you coast down the hill. Otherwise, you’ll be facing the music in court. Be aware. Be wary. You could try defying gravity, but I doubt if you’ll have much luck with this approach.
But I was not ON 30th Avenue this day.
I was merely diving slowly (I only go 30 mph now everywhere to avoid speed traps like the one on 30th Avenue mentioned above) up Kennedy Drive towards the Jewel store in Kennedy Square (and on past it to Best Buy out near Southpark Mall.)
As I approached the red light at the intersection of 30th Avenue and Kennedy Drive, heading towards Kennedy Square (i.e., southbound) I stayed on the right side next to the right curb, since it was apparent that the left-turning cars would hold up traffic that merely wanted to go straight down Kennedy. Here comes the rub.
When you go THROUGH the intersection, still heading south towards Kennedy Square, the two-lane road often has cars parked along the right side curb. Not always, but often. This day, I considered myself lucky. No cars parked on the right. Clear sailing in the “right” lane, (which is not really a lane, but will ultimately narrow so that you will have to “merge” into the left lane.)
As I cleared the intersection, I noticed in my rear view mirror that a very large silver truck was tailgating me. The driver was practically in my back seat. He seemed to be going very fast, to me (remember: I’m the one who only drives 30 mph for the reasons mentioned above), but he may simply have been going 35 mph, the speed limit in East Moline (but NOT in Moline).
I glanced in my rear view mirror and commented, to myself, that I was glad I could continue to hug the right hand side curb and didn’t have to “merge” right away, because the person driving the truck was apparently in a much bigger hurry than me and very territorial about being first with a bullet. He was obviously an “Alpha Male” type who must remain in front of all other drivers at all times. Fine by me, I thought. You just go ahead and zip right on past me! I’ll just stay over here on the right, hugging this curb, until you take your giant silver whomper-stomper of a vehicle and head on down the road. Picture me saying, “Dum, dum, de dum”at that point. I also knew this intersection was a “ bad” one because my mother-in-law once had a car accident there when picking up my daughter from her piano lesson, so, no fool I, I would just hug that curb and let old Mr. Silverback or Silver Truck have the whole road for his giant ugly vehicle. No hurry on MY part to “merge.”
Unfortunately, just as I consciously willed this ill-mannered tailgating creep to zoom on down Kennedy Drive and leave me there, a curb-hugger, he hit me.
I heard a grinding, scraping, crushing sound, and my car shuddered violently. It nearly went out of control. If this idiot pushed me into the oncoming northbound traffic (i.e., the cars coming from Kennedy Square and heading north up Kennedy Drive), I would be hit broadside. I was fighting to control the car and thinking, “This mouth-breathing Neanderthal just HIT me!”
I searched the right-hand side of the road, frantically looking for a place I could pull over and get my car (and me) out of harm’s way. Luckily, the vacant lot and not-very-heavily traveled gravel road at 35th Avenue and 2nd Street was immediately ahead on my right. I actually had the presence of mind to signal for a right turn before pulling over and stopping my car. I had already made a note of the license plate of the Silver Toyota truck, as I wondered if he would stop at all, since he had just rear-ended a small car driving ahead of him in traffic, a car he should not have been that close to in the first place.
Mr. Neanderthal jumped down from his silver truck and was waving his arms and screaming. Why was he screaming? Beats the hell out of me! HE had just creamed my vehicle, knocking it so violently that I almost was pushed into the ongoing traffic lane, and now HE was yelling at ME. What’s wrong with this picture?
I glanced quickly at the back wheel well area of my green Prius (“the grasshopper”) and saw that parts of it were sticking out at 90 degree angles from the rest of my car. (Ooooo. That can’t be good, I thought.) One thought I had was this, “I wonder if I can drive this car after he hit me and crushed the wheel well area? It might be that the piece that is totally turn off my vehicle will puncture the tire or something.” I said nothing to the wildly gesticulating elderly male driver so out-of-control in front of me. He had obviously hit me. It was too late for him to UN-hit me, so now we simply must deal with the consequences in an adult manner. Or so I thought. That only works if both of you are capable of behaving in an adult manner. I have learned recently that many MANY adults are arrested at a maturity level of a twelve-year-old. In fact, when I visited the State Farm insurance agency, the young girl helping me file the claim said, after she heard how awful the elderly drive had been, “Yeah. The old ones are worse than the younger kids, usually.” Food for thought. Cranky old person? A stereotype, but one this guy certainly fit. And, keep in mind…THIS guy’s vehicle was not hurt AT ALL. The policeman wrote down ZERO dollars damage to his truck, so why was HE screaming at ME? Seems rather immature and unfriendly and, also, potentially designed to distract attention from the very real fact that he had just rear-ended the vehicle of a woman who was even older than he was old, but was still capable of trying to act like a civilized human being, which, I have learned, to my chagrin, many Control Freak types are not. Get in their way and they freak out.
Mr. Neanderthal was now berating me. (Seems odd, but there you have it….) He was being totally uncivil. I immediately gave him my name. I asked him what his name was.
“I’m not giving you my name, you smart ass.”
Well, this was going well, wasn’t it? I ask the man who has just ruined my car…(and damn near caused me serious bodily injury) for his NAME at the scene of an accident he has caused and he refuses to give it to me!
I tried a different tack. “I think we should exchange insurance information.” I went to my car to get mine out of the glove box.
Mr. Neanderthal says, “I ain’t giving you no insurance information. I’ll only give it to the po-lice.” (He pronounced police as 2 syllables.)
Since I frequently am in Chicago, a second home, and the Chicago police do NOT want to be bothered by people who are merely randomly running their vehicles into one another UNLESS one of them is hurt (neither of us was, fortunately), I mentioned this fact. “I’m not sure the police want to be called, unless there is personal injury, and we’re both okay.”
Wow! Wrong thing to say! And, I admit, more the way it works in the Big City than in East Moline, Illinois.
”You shut up, you smart ass.”
I think Mr. Neanderthal then also called me a liar or some other uncomplimentary thing for having shared this bit of Big City information about police responses to accidents in big cities which, admittedly, may not apply in what my friend D.J. refers to as “Poopyville.” (D.J. means no harm, and, himself lives in Las Vegas, so people who live in glass houses shouldn’t put down wholesome communities that are in the middle of nowhere, but D.J.said it, not me.)
Since I have endured quite a bit of verbal abuse online recently, which would include the Tea Party members who didn’t like the piece I did praising Eisenhower (go figure) and the ex-collaborator who has been trolling some really questionable sites and lying his ass off to the point that legal action will be taken, and now Mr. Neanderthal, who was being a complete jerk. Mr. Neanderthal didn’t need to admit guilt, but it would have been nice to have heard him say something human or compassionate like, “Gee, this is too bad.”
But no. Mr. Neanderthal, whose large silver truck had NO damage [but did have a number of colorful paint chips on his undented bumper] (makes you wonder how many other cars he has hit with his large ramming speed vehicle?) was going to simply verbally abuse me, waving his arms about and acting like a total child and complete jerk. In fact, I think there are even some rules about HAVING to give your name, if asked, at the scene of an accident, which someone closer to his size should remind him about. But this idiot wasn’t going to provide his name when politely asked.
At no time did I verbally abuse this person or call him names, or accuse him at that time of what he had done (i.e., ram into me while following too closely and driving too fast) but, hey! I could have said, “Look, you jerk! Look at the damage you just did to my vehicle! What-the-hell were you thinking, driving up behind me that fast?” But I did not say any of these things to the rude, unpleasant, 64-year-old creep who rear-ended me and then acted put out at ME! I knew he was working on some story that would make this (somehow) be MY fault. He was the type. I could just hear him now. And I could also imagine that, if I made any effort to speak with him further, Mr. Neanderthal might actually become violent.
True, it was only 3:30 in the afternoon. But I was a woman, driving alone, and an old fart with gray hair was waving his hands in the air in a threatening manner. Perhaps it was time to retreat to my vehicle and call for back up. Which I did.
Back up, in this instance, meant my retired husband, napping at home.
I got in my dented Prius, locked the doors, got out my phone, and dialed my husband, who was approximately 13 blocks away, asleep. He, in turn, called the police. I gave the spouse directions to my location just up the street and, within 5 minutes, the cavalry rode to the rescue.
For one thing, I needed someone with some mechanical aptitude to take a look at my wheel well and tell me if I could drive away from this fender bender.
For another, I might need someone to clock Fart Man if he took a swing at me.
For a third, men don’t really like to listen to “the little woman” and it would be far better if I had a man present, backing me up and telling this guy to shut up. I have known this since the days I spearheaded (some would say master-minded, but, with all the collective bargaining rights in the entire state of Wisconsin going under, perhaps masterminding something that only lasts for 31 years isn’t anything to brag about) collective bargaining rights in Silvis, Illinois. That would be the SEA efforts to gain collective bargaining rights. I insisted that a man stand up with me then, as Co-chairman of our teachers’ group, and I definitely wanted one here with me now.
By now, the police had arrived, which means one officer who seemed to be about 30 years old. Fart Man, the old Neanderthal who would not provide his name or insurance information but felt like a Big Man threatening a 5’ 2” woman whose car he had just ruined while driving like a maniac. Naturally, Mr. Neanderthal insisted on telling HIS story first. I ambled over near where he was bending the cop’s ear, because I just knew Neanderthal Man was giving a creative version of how innocent he was. [HE didn’t drive right up my rear end, practically into my back seat. HE wasn’t going fast. HE wasn’t tailgating. He was totally blameless, of course, and I should be hanged as a witch at sunrise.]
This seems to be quite the refrain of late. I had considered taking out an ad offering to be the “scapegoat” for all the world’s problems, (for a fee, of course.) Mr. Policeman didn’t want me to listen in on the old fart’s version. He instructed me to go sit in my vehicle, which I did without protest, joining my husband there. He had found my insurance papers for me in my glove box when I became rattled at the prospect of imminent injury from Neanderthal man and fled to hide within my vehicle.
Now the young policeman (who actually said, after taking my statement that he wished we had met under different circumstances) took my statement (and it took him a really long time to write everything up, indicating that there was zero damage to Mr. Neanderthal’s vehicle, but $1,500 to mine.)
We have now taken my poor Grasshopper to the Toyota dealership and filled out claims forms with State Farm and I will be without a vehicle for some period of time while parts are ordered and repairs are made. I am grateful that I was not hurt. I am grateful, also, that Mr. Neanderthal was not hurt… although I wish he would try, for once in his selfish life, to put himself in someone else’s shoes and realize that tailgating someone and hogging the road (I would have had to merge, eventually, but HE was not going to let some little Libtard car push his big ol’ honkin’ Toyota Tundra around. HE was going to be Numero Uno in line and, if you don’t like it, well, I’ll just gun my vehicle and run right over you!) And I wasn’t even at the point of needing to “merge.” God only knows what he might have done if I HAD tried to merge, with him in the left lane. I’m glad I never tried to do so while his silver truck was on the loose.
That, my friends, was my Thursday afternoon (March 31), one day after my wedding anniversary (over 40, so alert the media). It was not the anniversary present I had most desired.
I hope Mr. Neanderthal learns to be civil, polite and courteous and also reads up on the rules about how you MUST give your name at the scene of an accident, something that he flatly refused to do. As for the “let’s call the cops” thing: I needed the cops more than he did, since he had obviously done this sort of thing before (judging from the variety of paint colors displayed on his undented bumper) and he seemed to be a very unpleasant, impolite, poorly raised creep. I’m not going to give you his name. He knows who he is. If there’s any justice an even BIGGER vehicle will tailgate him and cream his car some day, and maybe, if he’s as mouthy and unpleasant as he was to me, cream him, as well.
Whatever happened to the days when, if you rear-ended somebody who was driving ahead of you, it was an automatic ticket. That’s what it should have been, for this guy. But instead, he’s still out there, tailgating unsuspecting small vehicles and probably shouting “ramming speed!” as he hits them. And, of course, telling HIS fantastical story to the police FIRST, because God forbid anyone but Mr. Neanderthal is allowed to go first.
Doesn’t he remember the Beatitude that said, “The first shall be last?” Keep that in mind while speeding up Kennedy Drive in East Moline, Illinois, hoping to be able to, at some point, merge into traffic without having to fight your way in.