Monday, November 06, 2006

My Car Accident

I recently went through a car accident, an experience that gave me a first-hand taste of low and dirty tricks that people can pull when involved in an accident.

I was driving Eastbound on Kingston Road, a thoroughfare connecting downtown to our suburb, on my way home from work, albeit a bit later than usual. As I approached a hill, I slowed down. I knew from experience that there's usually a cop on the other side with a radar. As I crossed the hill, sure enough, there was a couple of cop cars manning a radar station and pulling people over.

The knowledge of that fact alone was to come in useful later, as I found out.

Around 3 minutes of driving past that hill, I was on the leftmost lane, going at the speed limit. All of a sudden, I see this Cavalier exit from a small side street on the other side of the road, cross the Westbound lanes and cut directly onto the high speed lane of Eastbound Kingston Ave.

The lane I was on.

It happened so fast that I still shudder to think of it. It's an indescribable feeling, as you approach a near death experience and feel powerless to do anything. Your whole life starts to flash in front of your eyes. I remember just pressing the horn until the sound of it filled my ears. I remember stepping as hard as possible on the brakes. And I remember the feeling of utter helplessness as I realized there were cars to my right, and absolutely no place to swerve out of the way.

There was a huge crack! sound, as my car came to a screeching halt. Wondering why the air bags haven't deployed yet, I gingerly exhaled and then looked around.

It seemed at the last minute, the lady in the other car, on hearing my horn blast, had managed to swerve sufficiently so she was on the thin median separating the two directions of traffic, but the side of her car was still in my lane, and that's what I had hit. Or rather, the mirror of my car had hit.

It could have been a serious accident that in the end resulted in only a broken mirror. Had she not managed to swerve out of my way, I would have hit her passenger side head on, most possibly killing the child that was seated there. And more importantly, had the speed and impact caused my car to start swerving, I now would be perpendicular to the oncoming traffic, and people would hit me. Allah had personally saved all of us.

I got out and walked to the other car. She was still in the car! Before I could reach her though, another person got to me.

"Hey!" This Indian guy in an overalls accosted me. "I am the owner of this garage opposite the road - there!" He indicated with an outstretched hand. "You come to me, I will give you good discount." Pushing a visiting card down my hand, he left.

I wasn't seconds away from an accident, and already I have a guy trying to make a buck out of me!

I knocked on her window and told her to come out.

"I need your insurance," I told her, still shaking. "We need to call insurance."

"Yes," she said, then whipped out her cellphone. Lady, why are you taking out your cellphone? Give me your damn policy number.

"My cousin works at a Nissan dealership." She suddenly got off her phone and told me. "He is saying this mirror is maximum 100 bucks to change. He is at the dealership now."

"Ya?" Even though it wasn't my fault, I wanted to avoid the insurance hassle. Then I looked at her sharply.

"It's eight pm." I told her coldly. "All Nissan workshops I know close at 6."

"Oh," she was now flustered. "Look, my cousin has same car and I thought-"

"I want to report it." I told her flatly. "Now give me your insurance details and let's go there."

I was going to call up my agent and find out where the collision reporting center was, but it turned out she knew where the collision reporting center was, and a shortcut to get there! So we took it.

Once we were there, I was to get the second surprise of the night.

"Well," the counter agent taking down my report faced me. The lady had just completed her version while I had waited. "The lady tells me she was waiting on the median lane to enter the high speed lane, when all of sudden you came speeding, swerved into her lane, hit the side of her car."

It took me a second to digest this. For a second, I was almost in awe of how the lady had changed her apologetic story to a lying one.

Then I remembered the cop radar spot on Kingston Road. A smile lit my lips. Taking a moment to gather my thoughts, I began.

"First of all, minutes up the road from the accident spot, there was a police radar in operation. If I was speeding, they would have stopped and ticketed me."

Strike 1.

"Second, the median she is saying she WAITED on, it's a thin strip of yellow line, hardly wide enough for a bike, let alone a car. So where was she waiting?"

Strike 2.

"Finally, it's an amazing version. I swerved into her, somehow the front of my car magically avoiding her side, and somehow managed to get MY MIRROR to hit her, then swerved out again so this time the back of my car avoided her side, and then stopped some distance away. Very flexible car, my Nissan."

Strike 3.

The agent was now laughing. Then he looked at me, "Are you Indian, by any chance?"

"Bangladeshi." I replied.

"O bhai amio Bangladeshi!" The man literally shouted out, and continued in Bengali. "I thought I saw you before, you used to play cricket for this league right? Me too, for this other team."

Of all the places to run into a cricket player. At a collision reporting center.

"This lady I have seen her here before." The agent continued, now looking at her with distaste. "Don't worry, I will look out for you. It's a clear case of side swipe."

He then called a cop who went out with us to look at the damage. One glance, and he knew what happened. After giving me the police report, he turned to the lady and stared to scold her for endangering her child by driving recklessly.

Thankfully my insurance agreed with me, citing me not at fault and taking full charge of fixing my mirror at no cost to me promptly. To this day I still think of how some people tried to pull a fast one on me, and thank Allah for watching over us all.

Moral of the story: Play cricket.



Anonymous said...

Mezba! I hope you perfectly fine! NO scarathes or anything right? Allah definitely did the right hting of saving you. I mean where else would I go for usch insightful posts and Islamically related topics? You deserve a longer life no doubt Mezb! I can call you Mezb right? lol

You can't say no to that since you call me BFob...

Also, I loved how the dude at the reporting center was like "AMio Bangladeshi!"

Too good. Oh and that lady, geez, people like her cuz problems for all of us. I'm glad she got what was coming to her.

also, I'd like to applaud your speedy intellect!

Farah said...

Wow that's a great story, and you had fantastic presence of mind - I would be too shell shocked.

Samiha Esha said...

Mezba Bhaia,

Drive with care...:)


Esha :)

Suroor said...

Oh dear Mezba! Are you alright? Please be more careful and read ayat al kursi before you start to drive.

On my previous blog I wrote a post on how your life flashes before your eyes and I know its very scary.

You take care!

Rajputro said...

Oh what an escape. Allah surely had saved you. Drive carefully dude.

And about the moral : AWESOME

Maliha said...

Scary stuff man!

I totalled my first and favorite car of all times...and it was a no fault on top of that due to the icy conditions.

I know the feeling of seeing your life flash before your eyes...really freaky.

take care of you and keep playing that cricket :)

NAB said...

this post didn't really do much for the fear of driving and the road that I already have...i always keep thinking of all these people i know who died in car crashes or come to the emerg due to MVAs.

hope you prayed two nafl rakahs.

Ek Umeed said...

Mezba, I know what it feels like to have a brush with the possibility of death and know that it would have become a reality had the Almighty not been watching out for and over me. "Been there, done that" deal! But definitely take care when driving in the future. :)

'liya said...

Oh my goodness I almost didn't see this because of your latest post. Good to see that you're okay but you should still get checked out just in case.

mezba said...

Bfob: Sure you can call me Mezb. I prefer Mez though (even easier to type!).

Ya man, I was so pissed off at that lady. All that angst, if only she looked while driving.

Farah: Thanx.

Samiha: I will :-)

Suroor: Thanks I am fine. Ya I do read those ayahs but then I pop in my music. lol does that make me bad?

Rajputro, Maliha: Another proof cricket is taking over in Toronto. Ya I was strangely more worried about my car than me at one point.

Nowal: OH i prayed 4. Don't let that scare you off driving. I was hesitant to drive that road for a few days but it soon went away.

Ek Umeed: I will take care. I hope the other lady rectifies her driving.

Liya: Thanks, I did go to the doctor as I was pressed hard on my seat but alhamdillah everything was ok.

Em said...

How did I miss this post? Alhamdulillah, great to hear you're fine... Drive carefully, but of course that's now a sine qua non :).

Aisha said...

I havent had a chance to read through your entries b/c of a hectic week but MAN I am so sorry to hear about your accident but am glad that you are well enough to write about it.

Shabina said...

quite the tale! that's interesting, that y'all had to drive somewhere to report the accident. is that a canadian thing?

in mich, the protocol (which i'm sadly all too familiar with) is exchange info, call popo and wait for him/her to come and make the police report. then, post-accident, call insurance company and give your version of events.

Maleeha said...

Yea I'm with Shabina...As I was reading your story I was thinking "Ahh why did he leave the scene without the police arriving?" BUT, good quick thinking! Glad you're safe. Its scary how fast and loose some people play with life!

mezba said...

Em: Thanks bro. I will drive more carefully. Hopefully others will too ;-)

Aisha: Ya I was fine, thank God.

Shabina, Maleeha: Jazaks for the comments. As long as the damage is less than $1000 and no bodily injury has occurred, you can go and report to the collision center as long as you exchange insurance information beforehand. If one of the parties cause a problem, such as refuse to share insurance information, or you can see that the collision is such that they can change their version, or you do not know the extent of the damage, you wait for the police to arrive.

sonia said...

oh dear. i do hope you're okay

Athena said...

whoaaa glad to hear you're alright.

sabrina said...

I was always taught to stay INSIDE the car in any situation like that before the police arrives. If it's a hit and run, get the license number. Canada is a bit diffrent, I suppose.

But, it's amazing that people lie like that. I couldn't have imagined anything like that. WOW!
Alhamdulillah, you are all right. From personal exprience, I think some near death vehiculr accidents experiences are good reminders, they make a you humbler and softer person. I know it did for me. I got into 2 serious vehicualr accidents (I was not driving either times) and I would have gotten into some super serious accidents and it almost felt like some angels saved me... those are the times I was behind the wheels.

And, I drive a Nissan (Maxima), too! Don't you just love your Nissan! Nissan is affectionate and lovely. And after driving these nice stuff, it's hard to think about driving something less powerful like Toyota Camry or something... I am a Nissan fan!:D

isheeta said...

ok, so Im playing catch up but...

thank God youre ok, mez!

That was some smart logical thinking..... unfortunately for me, the moral of the story is... next timeI have an accident, call mezba!

Anonymous said...

Alhamdullilah,you really got to be careful with all these freaks driving around in TO,especially now it's getting cold!