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Old 24th June 2010, 20:52   #1
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Default 19 June 2010 - Nightmare on Independence Blvd

Today I am able to write this account of my car crash without even a scratch - all due to the superb crash safety aspects of new age cars. When I look back at the accident and the pictures - I shiver and think - I probably would not have survived this in a less safe car.

It was an idle summer afternoon in Charlotte, NC, and me (alongwith a friend of mine) went on a shopping spree that took us to Gaffeney, SC and Indian Trail, NC.

We were done by 6.30, and home seemed only minutes away while i merrily drove a brand new rental Toyota Corolla (with less than 8000 miles on the odo) on US 74 E - thats when disaster struck.

I was behind 3-4 cars at a red light, and when the signal turned green, I was talking to my friend (who was in the front passenger seat), and missed that the car infront of me went ahead by quite a distance (say 20-30 yards).
I accelerated out of the intersection - but suddenly noticed the Volvo S80 in front of me panic brake. I was driving at around 35-40 mph and said 'oh S***' and slammed on my brakes hard. My friend started saying something, but could not complete...
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Old 24th June 2010, 20:56   #2
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From the Description it seems you rear ended the S80. Hows your friend doing ? Both had belted up right ? Stuck to this thread. Glad to know you are fine, though a little jittery.

Last edited by prince_pervez : 24th June 2010 at 20:57.
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Old 24th June 2010, 21:01   #3
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The effort was too little too late from me. As the road was a 2 lane in my direction (I was in left lane) with full of traffic, and there was a hard median on the other side, I could not steer out of this.

The next thing I heard was a horrendous sound of steel hitting steel (It did not resemble anything that I have ever heard in my life), the car interiors suddenly going dark, and my vision become blurry. That second seemed stretched and I felt that I was in a time warp (is this normal?).

I gained conciousness in the next while to find that we have come to a complete halt, with the airbag in front of me open and slowly deflating.
I quickly checked with my friend who assured me that he was allright (albeit in a state of shock), and checked around the car to find that all 6 airbags were inflated.

My left ear was ringing (later realied that the side airbag touched it while inflating), and I was slowly coming to realize the situation - I have rear ended someone very badly, but am still alive!

Unbuckling me from the belt, I found that the doors were unlocked (impact sensing auto door unlocking at work), and tried opening the door. It opened only after using considerable force as the front quarter panel has backed upon impact to restrict the door hinges.

When on road - I saw that it was a mess.
I have rear ended a Volvo s80, which in turn has hit a Toyota Sienna, which has hit a Van (the one who stopped in first place).
The Volvo had considerably less damage - though the 2 front airbags had popped open, and the lady was in a panic shock. She was profusely crying and shaking. I asked her to relax and called 911, but they had received calls earlier to mine regarding to this accident.
Meanwhile my friend managed to escape from the pile of metal our Corolla had become.

Within minutes (1-2 mins) we were surrounded by 3 squad cars, 2 paramedic ambulances and 1 fire engine (Imagine that in India!).

Last edited by blackasta : 24th June 2010 at 21:03.
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Old 24th June 2010, 21:14   #4
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The firefighters ensured first that they put sand on any fluids that were seeping out, while the cops and medic ensured that everyone was alright. The girl (a teenager) in volvo chose to travel to hospital (she claimed that she had a small impact around her nose), while we stood around and ensured that everyone else was alright (which was thankfully the case).

The construction van had minimal damage (only a bent rear bumper), while the Toyota sienna had some damage to the hatch and bumper).
But I was real real surprized that almost nothing - believe me people - nothing had happened to the Volvo S80 with regard to the impact and state of our Corolla.

This is when my friend went the sensible way and clicked the following pictures (so that no one could claim anything absurd later)

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Last edited by blackasta : 24th June 2010 at 21:31.
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Old 24th June 2010, 21:31   #5
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Keep them coming, we're glued. This is something different to hear from the regular stuff where someone gets into accident & some morons who're no way related to the incidents show up for nothing. Lets hear one of the real incident abroad & put ourselves embarrassment.
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Old 24th June 2010, 21:33   #6
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More on this thread later (including the confusion regarding a replacement rental , and a ticket from police) whenever I get a break from my office work, or from my home.
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Old 24th June 2010, 22:39   #7
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Glad to know you (and everyone) got out of this safe.

So, all the hype around the sturdyness and safety of the S80 isnt for nothing. All i see is a misaligned bumper! Solid car.

Now, who gets the blame for all this ? I'd assume it would come to you since you rear ended the car in front (losing control) and caused damages to the other cars ?
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Old 24th June 2010, 22:50   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jigbarai View Post
Now, who gets the blame for all this ? I'd assume it would come to you since you rear ended the car in front (losing control) and caused damages to the other cars ?
Depends! If the first car stopped for a valid reason (cross walk, school bus, pedsitrians darting etc.) then others have to be careful and have a 2 second gap between the one ahead. If the first car has stopped for no apparent reason then the first car gets blamed, but the one who crashed last will also be questioned as some of the other ahead did stop.

That 2 second gap is different for different states. So no flames please.

Did almost did happen to us last Friday. It was team lunch and while returning after a signal some one ahead had to take a left and hence there was a queue of 4 cars. Suddenly we heard a short screech behind us only to see a Merc in a diagonal angle to the road. After reaching office some other colleagues behind the Merc stated that the driver perhaps did not expect the apparent stoppage by other motorists and so he was caught napping. It would have been a crash of 2 biggies. A Lincon MK S and a Merc.

I think the OP faced the same problem, only that he could not brake in time to save a crash.
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Old 24th June 2010, 22:52   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jigbarai View Post
Now, who gets the blame for all this ? I'd assume it would come to you since you rear ended the car in front (losing control) and caused damages to the other cars ?

Exactly my thoughts!

BTW, seeing the corolla and the rear of the S80, nobody can believe that you actually rear-ended the S80!
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Old 24th June 2010, 22:55   #10
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Seems like you people moved upon green and then the car in front braked hard and you ended up rear-ending it. Contest the ticket in court. It should end in your favour.
Looking at your description it does look like you people started off at green only for the guy in front brake abruptly. Good thing about US is that hearing is quick and so is judgement.

@pervez. The 2 second distance doesn't apply for vehicles starting off from a traffic light. And yes as you have mentioned, it varies from state to state.
What ever the reason the guy ahead stopped, if there's no human element involved, then he has no right to stop abruptly. So out guy is clear from what he says!

Last edited by MX6 : 24th June 2010 at 22:57.
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Old 24th June 2010, 23:03   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MX6 View Post
@pervez. The 2 second distance doesn't apply for vehicles starting off from a traffic light.
And that is correct.
Quote:
And yes as you have mentioned, it varies from state to state.
Yes but only while in motion. Otherwise you have to maintain safe distance. I mentioned the 2 seconds distance because even in case of abrupt braking in front, the one at the back has a chance to save himself and the car.

Quote:
What ever the reason the guy ahead stopped, if there's no human element involved, then he has no right to stop abruptly. So out guy is clear from what he says!
That is exactly what I said, if there is no valid reason for the first guy to stop then he is to be blamed as well. I should have been more clear.

Last edited by prince_pervez : 24th June 2010 at 23:05.
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Old 24th June 2010, 23:08   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jigbarai View Post
Glad to know you (and everyone) got out of this safe.

So, all the hype around the sturdyness and safety of the S80 isnt for nothing. All i see is a misaligned bumper! Solid car.

Now, who gets the blame for all this ? I'd assume it would come to you since you rear ended the car in front (losing control) and caused damages to the other cars ?
I got a ticket of $180 ($50 fine + $130 court fee) for 'failing to reduce speed in order to avaoid a collision'.
I chose no-contest and paid the fine, as the hearing date was in mid July and i am leaving US in June end.

Quote:
Originally Posted by prince_pervez View Post

I think the OP faced the same problem, only that he could not brake in time to save a crash.
The van stopped for no reason and got a ticket for that!

Quote:
Originally Posted by pulsar56 View Post
Exactly my thoughts!

BTW, seeing the corolla and the rear of the S80, nobody can believe that you actually rear-ended the S80!
I could not believe that the Toyota was history and the S80 would be out on the roads in a week perhaps.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MX6 View Post
Seems like you people moved upon green and then the car in front braked hard and you ended up rear-ending it. Contest the ticket in court. It should end in your favour.
Looking at your description it does look like you people started off at green only for the guy in front brake abruptly. Good thing about US is that hearing is quick and so is judgement.

@pervez. The 2 second distance doesn't apply for vehicles starting off from a traffic light. And yes as you have mentioned, it varies from state to state.
What ever the reason the guy ahead stopped, if there's no human element involved, then he has no right to stop abruptly. So out guy is clear from what he says!
I chose no-contest and paid the fine, as the hearing date was in mid July and i am leaving US in June end.

The van stopped for no reason and got a ticket for that, plus the driver did not have an operators license. So he is in a bigger soup than me.

I had taken full coverage insurance from Enterprise (DW + PAI + SLP), and only had to pay the ticket out of my pocket. Big relief because if I had skipped on that (you can rent a car without DW + PAI) I would have been neck deep in trouble.

Last edited by blackasta : 24th June 2010 at 23:12.
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Old 24th June 2010, 23:33   #13
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sad that you had to pay the fine as you are not in US to contest it in court. It would definitely have landed in your favour as you were just accelerating from stop and not cruising at a constant speed to come to a halt in safe conditions. It's more difficult to come to an abrupt stop just when you start accelerating.
Anyway, all's well and the fine is paltry amount when comparing with your life! lucky that there was no 18 wheeler behind you in the signal!
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Old 25th June 2010, 20:50   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackasta View Post
More on this thread later (including the confusion regarding a replacement rental , and a ticket from police) whenever I get a break from my office work, or from my home.

So after this whole initial fiasco, I call up Enterprise rentals to report the accident and ask for a replacement vehicle - only to get a further shock!

The online customer care person, after noting down every detail, tells me something which translates in plain english as - 'your rental contract expired on friday as you owe Enterprise $<something>, and you are holding on to the car illegally, and we would be unable to take on any accident claims and blah blah ....'

I got a cold shiver and just thought that my bank balance in US could not even pay for a 5 year old used corolla, forget a 2010 model. Add on top of that the charges for 3 other cars' damage, and other penalties. I could not just think of anything then, the situation was choking me fast....

In that moment, to add insult to injury, the police officer handed me over a $180 citation for traffic rules violation - 'failing to reduce speed in order to avoid a collision'.

I was standing on foreign soil and neck deep in trouble. Cannot really express the feeling I was having then!

Luckily - the call to Enterprise customer got dropped, and I called up again - just to take a chance.
This time - another lady was on line, and she realized that it was a mistake from their part that they messed up with rental agreement numbers, and I was legally renting the vehicle, and was under insurance cover - those felt like the sweetest words to my ears (one of which was still ringing!!).
So after putting me on hold for 35 minutes (yes - you read it correct - 35 minutes), she finally said that as all the rental locations near me were closed, and if I could travel to Charlote Douglas airport - I can get a replacement vehicle. It was a difficult proposition - but not impossible!

So we called up a friend of ours to pick up and drop us at our apartment home, and simultaneously called our friendly neighborhood desi cabbie to drop me to airport.

In the meantime - The ambulance was gone (taking the girl to hospital), the firetruck was gone after the guys sweeped up debris from the steet covered with sand, the tow truck was gone with 2 cars (volvo and corolla), and finally the police said that we can leave the scene and left!
All of this in 45 minutes of having a BIG accident - and every person drove at a speed of 10-15 mph in single file beside the crash scene.
And then the road was back to normal.
Why can't we have this in India?

Last edited by blackasta : 25th June 2010 at 20:53.
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Old 25th June 2010, 21:12   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackasta View Post
I got a cold shiver and just thought that my bank balance in US could not even pay for a 5 year old used corolla, forget a 2010 model. Add on top of that the charges for 3 other cars' damage, and other penalties. I could not just think of anything then, the situation was choking me fast....
Man! I surely don't want to be in that postion. InshaAllah!

Quote:
Why can't we have this in India?
Hey thats another topic. Don't stir the hornet's nest I'd say
One morning I got ready to office only to realise that my friend
who used my car last night did not close the doors properly and the battery had drained out of it. I called up the road side assistance service and I was back on the road in 45 mins.
then I thought could it happen in my beloved country ?
I remembered, yes it can, and it did. Rats chewed on my Lancer cables. I called up Southern and they dispatched a Bolero tow vehicle. And in half and hour my vehicle was being towed.

In case of an accident, people will beat you black and blue, some Samaritian will help you a hospital, someone will make false claims, etc etc, but, all in all you win some and then you lose some.

I'm happy you got through man! These people are so scared, my colleague was picked up from a near by park as he was roaming away to glory in his shorts and talking to someone over the cell. A cop got suspicious and walked up to him and asked for ID. He had nothing in his short except for his bare essentials. The cop could not take it for identity and arrested him. He got a quarter to call up another colleague and he in turn produced all the Visa and supporting docs. Its crazy here man!

Last edited by prince_pervez : 25th June 2010 at 21:14.
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