Monday, February 12, 2007
Sad Ending for a Saab. Happy Ending for Me.
January 2 I was on my way to work. My family had left in the wee hours for Maryland, and of course I was worrying about their travels. Little did I know that I was the one in motoring peril, not them. At 6:10am, as I rounded a bend on a two-lane road, I was greeted by a pair of headlights--on my side of the road. My next recollection was wonder what the big gray thing was sitting in my lap, and the realization that it was my airbag! I blacked out again, and next I knew I was standing outside my car, speaking to an EMT who wondered how I had gotten out of my car. I still can't say, given that my door wouldn't open. I finally regained a clear head as I was being neck-braced and body boarded in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. I spent the morning there as the fine folks picked all the glass out of my face and eye. I was left with a scratched cornea, a left cheek that looked like hamburger, and a bruised bicep. I was also left with a ruined car.
The great news is that I am OK. The eye healed in three days. Glass came out of my face for a while but that seems done, and I should have only a few small scars. When looking at the crash, it could have been much worse. Much worse. When released from the hospital, my desire to understand the accident overcame my good sense and I spent the day doing detective work. My father-in-law drove me around as we inspected the crash scene, my car and the offending car. What I deduced from the physical evidence, is that the other vehicle, a Toyota SUV, crossed into my path probably as a result of hitting black ice. My Stevens Advanced Driver Training instruction influenced my actions: I had braked and turned right, JUST avoiding a head-on crash and taking the blow down the entire side of the car. Because I was braking, after the impact turned me to the left, I stopped just off the pavement. The Toyota suffered some damage from hitting me, but was destroyed as it careened off of the Saab and then drove into and onto a stone wall. From the police report I later learned that he was speeding, probably in excess of 55 mph. That, coupled with my 45 mph, means there was a lot of kinetic energy happening, and to have walked away with a foggy memory and a few scars--I am lucky!!!
As it was meant to do, the Saab--a 1993 900T--was forgiving where needed, and strong where it had to be. It also responded with quick reflexes--active safety--to ameliorate the crash impact. I owned this car for only a year and a half, but was very fond of it. I may never own another Classic 900T, but I will never forget this one and the way it saved my life.