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Saturday, March 12, 2005

Hammer goes crash

Posted by: Hammer / 8:31 AM

March 12, 2:15 p.m.

Hey! I thought of a good thing. Three days ago I filled the Civic up with gas. (Oline). The car was dirty so I paid the extra $5 to get a wash. I was running a little late, so I saved the wash code to use another day. So at least I totaled a dirty car, rather than a nice clean one. And I've got one free wash to use on the next car.

Yeah. So. I know what air bag smells like.

I was driving home last night from Ms. Hammer's 32nd birthday party. Fortunately, the rest of clan Hammer was in the other car. As I was going south on Cedar Avenue, just past the first stop light, a northbound car lost control, started to spin, and jumped the median directly in front of me. I hit the brakes. That's when the laws of physics started to work against me.

The roads were slick, so I didn't slow much before plowing into the Pathfinder's rear end. Stupid coefficient of friction -- rolling or otherwise. The Pathfinder weighs about 3,600 pounds. My Civic weighed 2,300 pounds. Newton's stupid law of conservation of momentum really worked against me there. I came to quite a sudden stop, while the Pathfinder was pushed forward a couple dozen feet.

I was pretty shaken up at the scene. To call myself down, I tried to calculate what a sudden stop at 30 mph translated to in terms of falling from a height. I came up with 5 meters or so. That seemed low until I remember it was 5 meters, not 5 feet.

The night got really cold waiting for the cop. He was courteous, friendly, and incompetent. He actually dismissed the only witness on the scene and filled out the police report before asking anyone what had happened. He filled out accident report #1 as if I had been following the other vehicle too closely. It wasn't until he asked about the damage to the rear end of my car that he discovered not all was as it seemed.

"See," is how I explained the damage, "I hit that car hard. When she came up over the curb I barely had time to hit my brakes. I didn't slow down much at all, so I was probably going 30 when I slammed into her. I'm just glad she spun completely around so that we didn't hit head on."

That's when the nice, incompetent officer went to ask the other driver what happened. She was nice enough to tell him the truth. He was nice enough not to cite her. (Actually, everyone was very nice to her. I stood waiting outside my car to get my keys back from the tow truck driver while the cop and the tow truck guy both tried to help her get her spare tire into the cargo area of her Pathfinder. She drove away. My car was totaled. How about a little compassion for the Hammer?)

I'll bet you dollars to donuts that accident report #1 was going to cite me for following to closely. If someone can explain how I could be at fault for following too closely on icy roads, but she wouldn't be at fault for driving so fast that she spun out and hopped a curb, I'd appreciate it.

Of course, I'm glad the kids weren't in the car and that no one is seriously hurt. On the other hand, I'm concerned that the excessive niceness is going to make my insurance claim that much more difficult. In the great state of Wisconsin, the cop would fill out a complete accident report. Here, he just wrote down names and numbers, which the drivers have to copy onto our own accident reports.

Anyway, I'm a big boy. I can handle the insurance company. But if things turn ugly, I'm turning to the man known only as The Shiv.


Glad to hear you're ok, Hammer. Two things. One, give 'em hell in court, just don't give yourself 8 years for abusing the judge. Two, isn't it supposed to be Mrs. Hammer, not Ms. Hammer? I don't think the younger Hammers are old enough to drive.

By Anonymous Ba Ha Ha, at 9:26 AM  

Minnesota is a no fault state, so if all goes according to design, my adjuster writes me a check then gets to duke it out with the other guy's insurance company. What with the other driving crossing the median and all, I think my insurance company will do okay. I prefer "Ms." to the "Miss/Mrs." labels. I don't think the chick I live with cares.

By Blogger Hammer, at 2:20 PM  

Poor Hammer. Poor Civic. I'm very glad the kids were with Ms. Hammer. Or at least I think I would be glad, if I had kids and had some frame of reference for being glad about such a thing.

What does an airbag smell like?

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