I got in my first car accident this weekend...and for a split second, I really thought my life was over.
It happened on Saturday morning. DH and I were driving down the interstate headed to the Ikea in Canton, MI. I had been before, but DH was curious about it, so we decided to go. It was a clear, sunny day and we were driving the interstate about halfway to Ikea. We aren't usually in the fast lane, but we had just exited another interstate and the exit was on the left...so we had yet to move over to a slower lane (DH was driving his brand new Camaro).
We had just gotten directions from OnStar and talking about songs on the radio...and why the driving instructions weren't on the main instrument panel anymore.
I must've been looking out the side window...so I never saw the impact coming...
All the sudden, DH slammed on the brakes...and I felt a VERY hard impact to the front of the car...and saw a flash of what looked like fur. The same moment DH hit the brakes and the moment we hit, the airbags deployed (front and side). I started screaming at the top of my lungs...I didn't know what we hit, but I must've known somehow that it was a deer, because I never asked "what did we hit." A second later, we were stopped. I looked up at the windshield to try and determine where exactly we were in relation to other cars...and I couldn't.
All I could see was cracked windshield, light orange colored airbags...and we were breathing in powder. That stuff was everywhere. It smelled light burning plastic...and looked like smoke.
I felt something wet coming out of my mouth and my first thought was 'blood.' But it wasn't. It was saliva...I assume from screaming.
DH looked over at me and the first thing he asked was "are you ok?" I must've had a look of horror on my face...I said "I think so..." and then asked in a panic "where are we?" It was around this time that OnStar came on and asked what happened and if we were ok. DH replied with something like "we hit a deer...I think. I think we are ok."
At this point, I'm still freaking out and panicking that another car is going to hit us from behind. I open my passenger side door just enough to see the road underneath us and begin asking OnStar "should we get out of the car" and at the same time, motioning DH out of the car so I can escape on the driver's side away from traffic.
I peered out the door under the driver's side side-airbag and see the face of a woman talking on her phone to 911. I jump out of the car and run into her arms. She was a stranger, but her arms felt like safety. She hugged me while she was trying to direct the 911 operator to our location...all the while asking if I was ok.
In the meantime, DH was already back in his car talking to OnStar. I later find out they had already forwarded him to a 911 operator as well to assess the situation.
Once EMS was on their way, the nice woman cleaned out space in her car for us to sit while we waited for EMS and the police to arrive.
I sat in her car, next to DH, literally in SHOCK. I looked at the car from the backseat...front bumper, headlight and grill messed up. The hood all bent up. Windshield all cracked. Then I looked around for the deer. It was at least 30 feet in front of our car, another lane over...not moving. Dead.
I couldn't stop shivering and shaking. I kept hugging DH. And the tears started flowing. I kept thanking the woman that stopped...she was the only one. She said she had been in an accident before and told me that it was good to have someone there to assess the situation...a bystander.
I asked where she was in relation to us. She said she was the third car behind us and that she had seen the whole thing. She said she saw the deer leap over the median and that there was nothing we could've done to avoid it.
It only took about 10 minutes and I saw the ambulance with their sirens on coming up from behind us in the fast lane.
We stepped into the ambulance so they could check our vitals. Everything appeared normal...just slightly elevated heart rates and blood pressures. I think my BP was 128 / 92. I'm usually 110 / 65 or so. Other than being in shock and some seatbelt burn on our necks, we didn't feel like we needed to go to the hospital.
Police arrived just minutes after EMS. They waited with us until a tow truck arrived to take the car. They did say it was driveable, but the windshield was covered in cracks and they would've had to cut the airbags out if we wanted to drive it. But...we were 50 miles from home...and didn't want to risk driving something in case there was something majorly wrong with it. Plus we were both pretty traumatized and driving the car right after it happened would've been pretty upsetting.
The cops drove us to a nearby gas station while we waited for our ride (DH's dad).
Hours later, I told DH we should go to the ER to get checked out. We were both getting more and more sore...and for insurance purposes, if something is majorly wrong, we need to discover it now rather than later.
Luckily the ER was empty, so we got right in. They did xrays of my back, and xrays of DH's chest and face...and also a CT of his face. All came back normal. They said it was likely from whiplash and from the airbags hitting us. We were sent home with some muscle relaxers, anti-inflammatories and vicodin.
This is the best photo I could get of the car. I took it while sitting in the woman's car waiting. I took it with my phone...and then later photographed it with my Canon since my phone doesn't have Internet capabilities.
I'm actually surprised the car doesn't look worse. It isn't that big of a car...and any impact going 70mph is bound to do some damage...so I'm shocked it doesn't look worse. You can still see the airbags in the windows...
This was my first car accident (unless you count getting rear-ended going 20mph)...and the first moment in my life where I felt like "this is it."
It was a split second of realization that yes, I could die. And that life can change in an instant.
It taught me that I really need to cherish the things that I have right now...because it can all be taken away at any moment.
I am so grateful to my husband...for seeing the deer...and taking control of the situation the best way he knew how. For not swerving and hitting another car or the median. I love him so much and just truly appreciate all that we do have.
Cars can be fixed...but people cannot be replaced. We have to cherish each and every second we have together because you never know when it might be your last.
**UPDATED** I finally got the pic off my phone...