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I almost died on Friday... pics included.

Old 05-23-05, 10:08 PM
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I almost died on Friday... pics included.

I spent last week in LA going to E3 (which is an industry nerd convention for video games and such for those who don't know)... it's my 4th time going... first time by myself. I stayed with a friend of mine from Korea who works for a game company in a Torrance. The following is an excerpt from my journal and I didn't check it for missing story elements... I just took out a bunch of it to make it not as long. I have a feeling it's too long for you guys as it is. If you want, you can just skip to the pictures.

I left the Staples Center parking lot in my new sleek black Toyota Camry rental car and get on the 110 onramp heading south on Friday night at around 9:30pm. Those of you in LA will know exactly where I'm talking about. The traffic isn't that bad - which is good because I have a very short distance to merge over 4 or 5 lanes to get onto the 110 instead of having to take the Santa Monica. I merge over just fine, but as I'm merging into the far left lane, someone decided they didn't want to be behind me, so they sped up around my left side - hugging the side rail.

I didn't have any time to react - I couldn't get over, I couldn't stop, I couldn't uncommit to the lane change... a second later, I hit the steel and concrete divider that separates the 110 onramp and the Santa Monica. If you go there, you'll see it kinda smashed a little and some black paint indicating that I had been there (I had to return there a few days later with Ray driving - I caught myself white knuckling the experience). The other car just kept going unscathed.

So I hit this divider and I could recall the moment of still life I experienced between the time the car hit and the time the airbag punched me in the face. The first thing that came to mind was "FUCK!" and then "This is going to be expensive!" and then the airbag "Fuck! Why didn't I get the extra insurance?" and then helplessly out of control, I hit the left guardrail "Fuck! this is going to mess up my back." and then I careened into the right guardrail... "Fuck fuck fuck! I really can't afford this." After a bit of pinball against guardrails, my car came to a stop.

The smell of powder and smoke filled my nostrils and I stopped and assessed the situation. "I'm okay?.... I'm okay. Ow... what's that? Ok, ignore it, Max. You don't have medical insurance. This car must be really fucked up." Incidently - I've been in quite a few accidents and this is the first time I regarded the impact with enough respect to have a good idea what the damage would look like once I stepped outside the car. Other accidents felt like nothing and I was always surprised at how much damage there was to the cars. This one would hold no surprises for me.

Cars started passing and stopping to ask me if I was allright. I waved people on and gave them thumbs up so I didn't cause a traffic problem. As it was, people had to ride the shoulder. I tried to start the car again - "holy shit, it starts!" I forcefully throw it into gear. "Holy shit, it kinda goes into gear! Maybe it'll all be okay." I step on the gas to try and move out of the way... useless. I get out and take a look at the driver side - the tire is facing out at an extreme angle, but I otherwise can't really tell what else is wrong. "I don't remember turning the wheel that much - was I trying to go completely sideways?"

I call emergency roadside and they say they'll send out a truck. Soon after, an off duty DPS officer stopped behind me and called in highway patrol and put up flares. It was a relief because I was getting tired of giving people a thumbs up and waving them on. My arm hurt. The police came and acted like assholes at first... asking how much I had been drinking and shining flashlights in my face. I'm too charming though because it didn't take long for them to warm up to me and laugh at my jokes and whatnot.

CHPs tow truck arrived first... actually roadside assistance couldn't even locate a flatbed. I needed a flatbed you see because both front tires were facing away from each other. It was quite a sight. I only wish I had gotten better photos. The tow truck guy was nice and he took me and the Camry to his yard in the ghetto. Well, not so much a ghetto as just a back-alley kinda scary place that was deserted. The kind of alley you would expect to see zombies in coming after you for your brains and whatnot.

I got a taxi to come get me - dang they are fast in LA. He drove me all the way to my hotel in Torrance to the tune of 51 bucks. Ahh - good times.

So that was my Friday night... straight down the pooper.

Wanna hear the tragic parts? My car insurance is liability only and won't cover a rental. I opted not to get the Loss Damage Waiver since it would've more than doubled the cost of the rental... instead of 145 bucks for a week, it would've been more than 300 bucks. Let's just say I was advised against it. American Express would cover up to 1000 bucks worth of deductable if there was a deductable. Budget car rentals is self-insured (like me). So as it turns out, I'm going to have to pay for this slightly broken Toyota Camry. I'm looking at upwards of 20,000 bucks. It could be as low as 5000, but still...

I'm not made of money here, people. *sigh*

So anyway - that was my week. It sucked. On the upside, except for the car - the trip cost me pretty much nothing. Free hotel stay, meals were paid for by Microsoft for the most part. I didn't have time to do any shopping for myself. I didn't have time to go to any bars and rack up a tab. E3 was free for me as well.

Before you ask if I'm okay - yeah - I am... more or less. My back is really fucked up, I have a painful bruise on my knee where it hit the steering wheel, my arms are sore - especially at the elbows. I do have pretty much full mobility though and I'm still pretty. The airbag that punched me in the face felt like just that - a boxing glove to the nose. It hurt a bit for a day and went away. My neck is also kinda stiff.

I'm the kind of person that never wears a seatbelt... the Camry had an annoying way of beeping at me relentlessly unless I put on the seatbelt, so I just did it all the time. Other accidents I've been in and walked away from involved no airbags or seatbelts and I was fine. I think the seatbelt/airbag combo here saved me from injury and scars to my face. What saved my life was that I only hit the rail with the right front of the car - had I hit just a few inches to the left, it would've hit the engine and stopped the car dead at 60mph and probably killed me. I'm lucky to be alive. I hope the guy that ran me off the onramp feels bad about it at least.

I've learned a few things from this experience too... don't go on trips by myself. Don't rent a car without some sort of insurance. California freeways suck. Seatbelts and airbags help keep me pretty. I didn't get any of those 'life is precious and fragile' epiphanies that some people get. This didn't change my life or anything - I'm mostly just pissed off that I have to pay for this car. I don't know what I'm gonna do.

Here's what the car looked like after the accident:


Driver side - ow... that looks painful.


Passenger side - guts hanging out.


Notice the tires are facing opposite directions.


Took this one later with my cell phone - which is why it's so crappy.
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Old 05-23-05, 10:18 PM
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Glad you're OK, for the msot part. You still ought to have your doctor check you out just in case.

Did you fill out a police report or anything? It sounds like the other guy was at fault, in which case you may be off the hook in terms of having to pay for the rental car. If you were there on your employer's dime (do you work for Microsoft?) you might want to check with your HR department to see if they'll help you out in terms of dealing with the car rental company.
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Old 05-23-05, 10:20 PM
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E3. The reality driving sim. Now you have to find a videogame to replicates that experience minus the pain and cost.

Glad you're ok to.
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Old 05-23-05, 10:23 PM
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I'm glad you are okay (more or less).

Hope you can find a way to not have to pay for that cursed car.
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Old 05-23-05, 10:27 PM
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Oh my gosh! I'm so sorry to hear all this. I hope everything turns out ok.
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Old 05-23-05, 10:29 PM
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Holy fuck Trigger! I'm glad you are alright! Sorry you have to pay for it all, but there's always a way to figure it out. I'm sure it'll be okay. Afterall, you can't squeeze milk from a turnip.

Again though, thank God your're alright.

I like what you did with the car!
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Old 05-23-05, 10:31 PM
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Wow, scary. I hope it all works out... that's an expensive lesson, but it could have been worse.

Glad you're able to post!
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Old 05-23-05, 10:32 PM
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It just wasn't your night.. even the tow truck had 666 in the phone number..
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Old 05-23-05, 10:45 PM
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Wow, Trigger. Sorry to hear it but it's great that you came out of it without more serious injury. Try to keep your chin up about the expense.

To help cheer you up I have just this to say about the thumbs up signals with the sore arm:

Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!
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Old 05-23-05, 10:51 PM
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Damn, man. Glad to hear you are okay. Sucks big time, but your are alive.

And kvrdave is especially happy for that.
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Old 05-23-05, 11:05 PM
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Ouch.

I was wondering though, instead of going into the divider, couldn't you have let the other car drive into you (on the left)? At least that way if you were going to have an accident, you'd take him with you (and force him to explain to the cops why he was driving like a putz).

Both suck big time, but if you're gonna be forced to have an accident, you might as well take the other bastard with you.
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Old 05-23-05, 11:37 PM
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Glad to hear you're ok Trigger.

Cars can be fixed.
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Old 05-23-05, 11:44 PM
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Holy shit, that looks bad. Glad you are alive. I don't know where I would find a worth Rival.
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Old 05-23-05, 11:50 PM
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Good thing you're ok

I hope this teaches you to always wear your seatbelt, and for god sakes man, get full coverage insurance

Oh and drivers in California hate waiting behind people. I have had someone not wanna wait for me to turn right, so they went around me. Nevermind the fact that another car was coming and they just missed getting hit head on, which would have probably been pushed right into me.
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Old 05-24-05, 12:08 AM
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Ouch. Glad you are okay. Bad news is I am almost sure that car is totalled and you are out the entire amount.


A word of advice from me, I learned this the very hard way years ago. It was taught to me by a CHP officer standing by my totalled wreck of a car. Comprehensive is not expensive, most of your insurance is the liability stuff. Just get a higher deductible and at least you are covered. Sucks I know and it does not help your present situation.

I have no advice for that.
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Old 05-24-05, 12:12 AM
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Shit that sucks! I'm glad you're ok dude but next time get insurance! Some credit cards have coverage for rental cars too.
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Old 05-24-05, 12:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Trigger
I left the Staples Center parking lot in my new sleek black Toyota Camry rental car and get on the 110 onramp heading south on Friday night at around 9:30pm. Those of you in LA will know exactly where I'm talking about. The traffic isn't that bad - which is good because I have a very short distance to merge over 4 or 5 lanes to get onto the 110 instead of having to take the Santa Monica. I merge over just fine, but as I'm merging into the far left lane, someone decided they didn't want to be behind me, so they sped up around my left side - hugging the side rail.

I didn't have any time to react - I couldn't get over, I couldn't stop, I couldn't uncommit to the lane change... a second later, I hit the steel and concrete divider that separates the 110 onramp and the Santa Monica. If you go there, you'll see it kinda smashed a little and some black paint indicating that I had been there (I had to return there a few days later with Ray driving - I caught myself white knuckling the experience). The other car just kept going unscathed.
Glad to see that you are OK Trigger. For those of us who aren't familiar with the area though, please make a map !!!
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Old 05-24-05, 12:18 AM
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You beat death...again!

Stuff is replaceable - people aren't.

Happy to see you're still alive and well enough to post the entire story.

-Paul
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Old 05-24-05, 01:28 AM
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Glad you are OK.
Money can be earned again but health spioled is something spoiled.
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Old 05-24-05, 01:34 AM
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Glad you're ok man, have kvrdave up the rent on his properties and give you a kickback

on another note, the forum wouldn't have been the same without you so i'm glad you are still here
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Old 05-24-05, 02:12 AM
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who cares about the car. main thing is you are ok.
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Old 05-24-05, 02:12 AM
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who cares about the car. main thing is you are ok.
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Old 05-24-05, 02:23 AM
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Originally Posted by JasonF
Glad you're OK, for the msot part. You still ought to have your doctor check you out just in case.

Did you fill out a police report or anything? It sounds like the other guy was at fault, in which case you may be off the hook in terms of having to pay for the rental car. If you were there on your employer's dime (do you work for Microsoft?) you might want to check with your HR department to see if they'll help you out in terms of dealing with the car rental company.
I'm self-employed.
I don't have medical insurance.
I didn't do a police report - would've just been points on my license and no help for my case at all.
The other guy was gone - no chance of finding him. I didn't have time to react or even see what kind of car it was.
The rental company is going to hold me responsible for the car...
The engine turned on, so maybe it won't be a total loss. The frame might be okay. I'm thinking at best it'll be 5000 bucks. Worst case would probably be more like 15000. That would be if they totalled it and salvaged the wreck for parts and subtracted it from the amount I owed.

I'm kinda screwed, but yeah - I realize the important part is that I'm alive and still handsome. Thanks for the kindness, guys.
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Old 05-24-05, 02:29 AM
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I'm just glad you got to watch the entire run of Dawson's Creek just in case something bad happened to you.

Glad you are okay!
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Old 05-24-05, 02:29 AM
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C'mon man, tell us the truth - you tried ricing out the car with less than impressive results.

Glad you're okay man. Yeah the money part sucks, but that's part of life. Everyone's loses a lot of money at some point in their life. It all comes out in the wash.
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