Finding new reasons to be thankful

Published 10:36 pm Friday, May 21, 2010

Last week, I was in a serious car accident. Driving on 264, heading to Suffolk, I lost control of my vehicle, hit the cement median twice, crossed over three lanes of traffic and hit a guardrail before coming to rest in the middle of the highway, where I was then hit from behind by another vehicle.

I still don’t know what happened to cause me to lose control. The state police officer who handled the incident told me that there are frequent accidents at that location due to standing water, but I don’t remember seeing any puddles. I was simply driving one moment and attempting to regain control of my car for the next 10 seconds.

My daughter and niece were also in the vehicle, but none of us suffered anything other than very minor cuts and bruises. We weren’t cut by broken glass (there was none), and the airbags didn’t deploy and injure us.

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The only evidence we have that we were in an accident was scratches where the seatbelts injured us, and my niece’s skinned knees.

The car behind me had minor damage and was driven away from the scene. My car, however, was totaled, and I haven’t the vaguest idea how I’m going to replace it and get back on track.

Today, I found out that my insurance will pay off my vehicle and I won’t have any out-of-pocket expenses, but that still leaves me with no vehicle and no means to get another one.

I spent all day bemoaning my situation and worrying about what I’m going to do next, but then I read all the local stories about the car accidents that have occurred over the last few days. That’s when I realized how lucky we were: 50 miles an hour into a cement divider and a guardrail — and no injuries? That’s pretty much unheard of.

Reading about the other accidents certainly made me realize that I need to look at the bigger picture. I’m more grateful now not only that we are okay, but that I didn’t injure anyone else during the accident. I’m grateful that we were all wearing our seatbelts. I’m grateful that I had insurance and I don’t owe a bunch of money that I can’t pay.

However, I worry now about how I’ll feel if and when I get back on the road. It seems a lot of the accidents I’ve read about were due to driver error or distraction. How difficult will it be to drive when I’m not only worrying about my driving, but everyone else’s too?

I’m not anxious to find out. We all just need to be more alert out there. All accidents don’t end like mine. If only.