Why you should be a slow starter.

So, I’m sitting at the stoplight on my way to work Friday morning. Listening to news radio (yes, RT, I’m a geezer) and generally glad it’s Friday. The light turns green, and I begin to go off on my merry way.

I hear a strange noise. Kind of like that Doppler-effect-truck-passing noise, combined with honking. And my airbags have deployed. I’ve never actually seen airbags deploy, so I’m kind of stunned and watching with fascination. They’re filled with some sort of noxious gas that almost immediately begins escaping the bags and filling the car with disgusting smoke. Given the foul brand of cigarettes I smoke, you can imagine how disgusting this airbag-smoke must have been. And one airbag is white, while the other is this weird pastiche of white with red stripes, like a beach ball gone horribly, horribly wrong. It looks more like my mother made a little throw pillow and stuffed it in my glove compartment, and now it’s burst out in full frenzy.

All of these thoughts and images are flowing into my sleep-deprived brain as fast as I can think them, so it was really less than a split second later that I noticed the tractor trailer than was plowing through the front of my car. I don’t remember that too well; I distinctly remember the air bags.

Afterwards, the truck driver told me than he had tried to brake for the light, and his brakes had locked. It was either go straight through the intersection (and, as a side effect, my car) or jack-knife the trailer.

So, all told, I’m okay. A little sore Saturday and Sunday (and kind of a little sore in my left shoulder today), and a nasty burn on my left hand (I think having something to do with the airbags- it would certainly make sense that part of my fascination with their deployment came from the fact that they were burning themselves into my flesh) that has since healed. My car is likely totalled; even if it is repairable, the repairs are probably more than the blue book value ($3000).
But had I been two feet further into the intersection when he hit me… oy. Not something I really want to think about.
So there’s my Mundane Personal Stuff for the week. Let me know about your recent swipes with death, or suggestions on how I should spend the insurance payment (new car, or buy an old heap? I’m leaning toward the old heap idea- I paid about $16000 for my Saturn seven years ago, and that works out to $2000 a year (above and beyond regular maintenance) to own that car. I’m better off buying a cheap old car and spending $1000 a year in replacing worn-out parts), or congratulations for being about to have my first Staff Article posted.

Glad you’re OK. My mother-in-law slows down when going through green-lights. It’s a bit overkill, but she’s never been hit by someone running a red-light.

Sounds like the safety equipment on Saturns works fairly well. And about the burn on your hand, if that is all that’s wrong, you came out ahead.

I don’t think the outcome of the Saturn vs. Big Rig would have been so pleasant if you’d left from a stop just a bit sooner.

Just glad you’re ok.

glad to hear you’re safe. call me a paranoid MI driver, but I’ll often pause to make sure the cross traffic is actually stopping. Not that this helps you presently…

What drives me up a tree are the folks who, upon learning that your car will be totaled out say stuff like “lucky you! you get a new car out of the deal!”
Sure. I get the option of having more car payments to replace the vehicle that I was comfortable with, and have all of a week to do so. Which meant an accelerated car hunt, much more contact with car sales staff than I’d ever wish on my worst enemy (idiots! I call and ask ‘do you have any vehicle with a stick shift and a trunk, between these prices?’, they’ll ask any preference to make/model/color? nope, nope and nope, then bring me out to look at a hatchback! What’s tough to understand about the word trunk???)

Anyhow. my rant aside, there is one nice thing about how yours progressed - you didn’t know until afterward that you were about to be hit. the accident that totalled my car, (black ice, I knew it, the car behind me didn’t, I then had the trunk optional Mitsubishi), I looked in my rear view mirror, saw the car, knew he was going to slam into us, had exactly enough time to say “OHMYGODOHMYGOD”, which caused my son to look up in time to see us being hit.

Well, hope you enjoy dealing with car dealers (I suspect it’s a ‘guy’ thing).

Your air bags were different from each other??? hmmm. never considered that they might be.

wow. i’m glad your doing okay. the burn on your hand does sound like a deployment injury.

what did you tell them at work? how did you get home?

i’d go with the heap. that way you can buy a car and something else with the insurance money.

Wow. I am so glad that you’re okay.

Here’s my story. I will try to keep it brief: I was driving down a highway (I guess that’s what it’s called. It’s not an expressway, but the speed limit is between 45-55, depending on which stretch you’re on, and the stoplights are few and far between), and I was coming up to a light. I was going 40 mph, which was the speed limit. I had a green light. This car starts to make a left from the street to my left. In other words, this car had the red and was going to blow through the intersection right toward me. I started to speed up a little so the car would end up behind me. I didn’t go fast enough. I had just enough time to realize that I was about to be hit. The car (a Geo Prism) slammed into my driver’s side back door. (You’ll never know how thankful I am that I sped up). My car did a 180 and stalled. I got out, and discovered that my rear wheel was at a 45 degree angle to the ground. There were little pieces of plastic all over the place (from the tail light).

Long story short, a 90 year old woman (in fact, it was her birthday) had been trying to make a left hand turn from the far right hand lane on a red light. There was a right green arrow. She thought it was a left green arrow. She had seen my car coming, but pulled into the intersection because people were honking at her. She spent 20 minutes bitching at me and blaming me for the whole thing, until the cop gave her a ticket and told her to be quiet because she deserved three.

So much for trying to stay brief. Anyway, I’m glad you’re okay. I would personally go with a used car. BTW, I also have a Saturn (and it’s also 7 years old). I’ve had quite a few engine problems and I don’t like their service, but they do make a safe automobile.

First off, a BIG HUG for John!!! Glad you’re okay.

Next, moving on to Falcon’s fun world of airbags…(been in an accident where they went off twice…)
If your hand looks like one big ol’ scrape, then yes, it’s a deployment injury. I had one of those on my FACE once…whee. Either that, or it’s from bracing yourself unconsciously for impact. Had a few of those injuries too.

If the blue book value of yer car is $3000, then yes, it’ll be considered totalled. Air bags cost minimum $1000 EACH to replace correctly.

As for the car? I say new. I bought a new car when my Shadow got totalled. Was 4 years ago in June. Grand total, I’ve put around $700 into the car. Most of that is oil changes. (However, I was a dumbass and broke my passenger side mirror yesterday, so THAT needs replacing now…)

Well, John, congratulations for being about to have your first Staff Article posted. And for being alive to see it.

My last (only) serious accident happened as I was driving my little Mitsubishi Colt hatchback along a road doing about 45 (the speed limit). A woman sitting at the stop sign on a side street to my right decided that she needed to hurry up and beat the giant utility company pole-carrier truck that was waiting to turn left onto that street, and she pulled out DIRECTLY into my car’s right rear quarter panel, spinning me around backwards into the truck. I was wearing my seatbelt, so I stayed in my seat and wasn’t seriously injured, but the car was totalled (it ended up about 3 feet shorter than it started out).

When it comes to replacements, I’m in the “buy a heap” camp. I suppose it all depends on your willingness to spend time getting things fixed and your tolerance for minor annoyances, but we’ve got an 84 Toyota and and 86 Jeep now, and the car repairs never add up to as much as the payments would be for new ones. There’s something about the immediate loss of value as you drive out of the lot up to your neck in hock in your brand-new shiny car that makes me less than eager to buy new.

BTW, Jeannie, Mr. Legend was once a victim of the Extremely Senior Driver’s Phantom Left-Turn Arrow. An 83 year old man pulled his SUV directly across the path of Mr. Legend’s Toyota as he was going through a light that had been green for some time. Three witnesses told him (and the cop) that there had been no arrow, but he still maintained he’d seen one all the way through the process of getting his insurance company to replace our car.

Glad to hear you are ok.

I bet from now on, you’ll find yourself sneaking a glance to the left and right before entering the intersection, even if your light has been green for a couple of seconds.

That particular little habit has saved me from an accident at least twice now.

As for my brushes with death, I have been through the windshield twice now. (Both with me as the front seat passenger.)

I buckle up now. :slight_smile: