We were stopped at a red light at an intersection, our light went green. The other car in the lane to the left of me took off, and then I more slowly went into the intersection. Just then I noticed a car to my right coming down the street at me awfully fast. This was the worst moment of the whole thing - for about one whole second there I realized that the car coming at us was not stopping, and there was nothing I could do about it. I think I said "whoah" or something which N heard. I had enough time to think "should I brake or accelerate?" and then *BAM* it smacked into us, right into the side of N's door.
We were pushed sideways into the car in the left lane, which smashed in the left side of me a bit. It seems neither N nor I are hurt, so it's no big deal. (please refrain from all "are you ok?" or "I'm glad you're ok" emails). It is a pain in the ass because the Prelude is a bit too damaged to be driveable, so now I have to get it fixed or maybe get it totalled, blah blah fucking life is such a hassle.
Picture of Smashed Prelude
One thing I realized after the fact was that the accident was so quiet. There was no squealing of brakes, no swerving out of the way. Old Lady didn't slow down at all. Normally in an accident like that you expect a last minute braking, some tire tracks, all that. Nothing. When we got out of the cars to talk after the accident she was in shock of course, I was trying to get her to say what she was thinking and she mentioned how the light was green for her. That's scary, she just completely didn't see the world for many seconds there.
A few things trouble me intellectually about the whole situation.
1. the insurance will not come close to restoring the value lost of my car. Even if they fix it "completely" it has another accident on its record which greatly reduces resale value, and god knows if the frame is slightly bent they never really fix that right. I believe technically that insurance is supposed to compensate you for lost resale value, but they never do. So even when insurance is paying out, they screw you. Also, since Old Lady is completely at fault, the compensation should be way beyond just fixing the car, there should be a penalty for all my distress and lost time.
2. I've become hyper aware of how vulnerable I am and how you have to trust the other cars. Walking across streets since the accident I keep looking at the cars coming at me thinking "he has a red light, but who knows if he's actually going to stop? he might be old, or on a cell phone, or getting a blow job, and just run right through the red and smack into me". It's terrifying.
3. Old Lady and her complete unfitness to drive is very disturbing. Our roads are plagued by old folks and other unfit drivers who should absolutely have their licenses taken away, but both the state and their families are too fucking pussy to do it. My own family and myself have failed to stop our grandparents from driving even though they are horrible dangers to themselves and others. Basically just because we're afraid of the big scene where they get mad at us. It's very sad to confront your parents about their failing abilities in their old age, but you have to do it.
4. My neck is in rather a lot of pain since the accident, I'm sure I have some kind of minor whiplash. I almost certainly won't do anything about it to get compensation, but it occurs to me that other people might. By not doing anything about it, I'm basically just costing myself money, because there's some random chance that I hit someone some day and they do claim medical damages from me. It means my net EV for collisions is negative, not neutral.
5. I have to decide whether to file through my insurance or Old Lady's insurance. Under my insurance I'm limitted by the restrictions of my policy (which is a super-minimal policy because I despise insurance). On the other hand, if I file through her insurance I'm sure they'll try to fuck me as much as possible.
6. Thank god that Old Lady was driving a Honda Civic. Because of that, her total momentum was reasonably low, even at 35 mph with no braking, and perhaps most importantly, her bumper was at the right height for the Prelude's impact absorption pillars, and her front end crumples. If she had been driving a Suburban or something like that, my girlfriend might be dead right now.