Friday afternoon is not the best time to get rear ended. But then again, I am not sure there is ever a good time.
The short version: That's our Honda CRV in the middle next to the driver of the third car that hit us in Crestview FL. It was a minor traffic accident with no injuries and about $2600 damage to us.
The longer version: It could have been much worse -- say in the middle of rush hour on a major highway or in the rain or snow. But last Friday was a gorgeous day in the Florida panhandle and the weather was not an issue. And we were glad the whole mess got cleared up and done with in about an hour. (Except for repairs.)
We never exactly figured out what happened but the guy behind us said he got 'distracted', looked down, hit the brakes and instead plowed into us. I think he was probably about five feet behind us so it wasn't like he had a running start. So that was good. I think the Reese tow hitch in the back and the Blue Ox towing base plate in the front may have saved us from more damage. The probably took the brunt of the impact.
But when you hear that awful WHAM! and start putting together what happened, it can be very unsettling. We are so glad it was a minor event. To us it was more...but all in all it was a fender bender. (Except I'm not sure fenders bend any more.)
Seconds after it happened, I had trouble figuring out why I couldn't unlock my car door and get out. Simple tasks instantly become hard at times like this.
After I did get out and walk around, three policemen showed up. The guy behind us was concerned if we were hurt and we were all in a bit of a shock. I was looking for springs and leaks or engine stuff, but didn't really find any. The front license plate was torn off, and the benders were messed up.
We got the vehicles moved out of the road and into a CVS parking lot across the street. Everyone was on the phone pretty quickly. And we all answered questions from the policemen on the scene who was putting together the report. After about 30 minutes, he finished up, handed everyone a copy of the report (which basically was a listing of everyone's insurance and contact info.)
While the policeman was doing that, I called USAA and got the claim started. The claims representative was completing the online version and explaining our options and getting a rental car set up in case we needed it.
The lady who drove the car in front of us that had minimal damage. She hung around a little while but left after we got a copy of the police report. The other guy was waiting around for us, but we told him we were fine and and we left about the same time.
Pam and I thought our the was truly drivable and we went about 20 miles over to Fort Walton Beach to the Honda dealer Collision Center. As it turned out we talked to the Manager who was cleaning up the shop on a Friday afternoon. He basically said the sooner we got the claims adjuster to document an estimate for repairs, the quicker things could get started.
It was about closing time so there wasn't much more we could do until Monday morning.
First thing Monday morning, I went online and spoke with the claims adjuster who had been assigned. We had an appointment with him on Tuesday afternoon. Originally we thought we were going to just leave it at the Collision Center for them to fix.
But the claims adjuster suggested we might want to take it to one of three direct STARS (Streamlined Appraisal Repair Service) auto body shops in the area and see if they could get to it sooner.
After a quick visit to each one, we selected Miracle Strip Body Shop. We got an estimate of repairs in 30 minutes and had a scheduled appointment get fixed up first thing next Monday morning.
The advantage of the STARS facility is that we can visit another one if something doesn't get fixed quite right, or if something else needs repairing that was overlooked the first time. If we are hundreds of miles away from this place, we don't have to come back here to have the same body shop fix it.
So our plans have changed. We are staying in the Fort Walton Beach area at least another week and enjoy this area some more while we get our Honda fixed. We will keep you posted.
Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!