1. Age 14, riding around in Mother’s new car. 18 Wheeler is to my left, which is the turn only left lane. Instead it comes into the lane where I am. I try to swerve to the right, but bounce off the curb back into 18 Wheeler, then bounce off him back to the right. No control left in the steering wheel. Mother’s car comes to crumpled stop while 18 Wheeler goes merrily on down the road. My mouth taste like metal and there is an imprint in my leg of the wind up window control. I get out and limp along trying to find a phone with fellow teenager trying to chase me down.
2. At age 56, I pull up to a small town 4-way stop. I am on the right with a 18 wheeler to my left again. The 18 wheeler starts turning into my truck with it’s trailer coming gradually closer to me. No where to go with heavy light pole to my right. Slow motion begins with trailer closing in into my truck door while I try to climb over gear shift to get away. 18 wheeler drags me around turn to the right crushing the truck door in as we go. The door window starts cracking, and then breaks with glass spraying at me, then the windshield starts to crack slowly. My truck finally falls to the side. I crawl out the passenger side because door is oddly bent. 18 Wheeler continues on down the road. A curly-haired young boy rides up on his bicycle and asks, “Are you all right Lady.” I run into the corner store with blood running down my arm asking the checker to please call the police. She refuses to get involved. Thankfully several people come running in saying that someone is chasing down the 18 wheeler and another one is calling the police. The local policeman tells me that I should not have been in the right lane, where everyone always turns and yes, there are sooo many similar accidents there, but even though there are no yellow arrows to indicate this, the accident is ruled by him to be no fault accident. All my witnesses scream Nooo! My truck door is ripped open and stuck open. Policeman tells me to clean the glass out of my truck and drive it the 30 miles home as it is. Come to find out that this little town makes their primary living off of the 18 wheelers that frequently stop for gas and servicing in this little town. I cannot win this one. I was not crippled you see.
From these two accidents, I still have to drive to work 6 days and nights a week, but have developed a phobia concerning big 18 wheelers. I cannot pass one without cringing and pulling away from them. These trucks are so big that they barely feel it when they hit you or they just keep going to stay out of trouble.
Now I am quite sure that I will get yelled at by truck drivers and I am sure the majority of drivers have no intention of running into small vehicles, but it happens. I was even told by a truck driver that he had been told that if it comes to an obvious unavoidable accident, head straight ahead toward the accident to keep from jack-knifing or turning truck over.
I feel most fortunate of living through these accidents without permanent physical harm, but the mental harm is not reversible.
Thank you for my long life. Life can be good.