Road hazards l Off Kilter

By Mike Gold | Aug 14, 2019

This morning I hit a glancing blow to a deer. There I was driving within the speed limit, and off to my left side I thought I saw something moving. In fact, it was a deer, which proceeded to run directly in front of my car. I hit it with a glancing blow. The deer kept right on running into the woods. However, my right front light assembly was shattered.

Now I have to first, go to my local body shop; second, discover that my collision deductible is going to be just above the actual cost to repair the headlight assembly; and third, I will learn that if the cost should exceed my deductible and I put in a claim, that my insurance rate (on both cars!) will go up next year and for an additional two years such that it will not pay to put in a claim.

For some reason, whether you are judged at fault” or not, just the fact a claim is made causes your insurance to go up. (This does not seem fair to me – but that’s simply how it is).

Such is the modern version of “collision roulette.”

I got to thinking about any claims I had put in over my lifetime of driving (and my wife’s as well).

In fact, neither of us has ever been in a collision that was judged to be our fault.  A few years back, I was rear ended by a large pickup truck that had been blinded by early morning sun. Clearly it was 100 percent the other driver’s fault.

Their insurance company pushed hard to settle” the claim as quickly as possible. Why? Because there was potential liability for “soft tissue” injuries to my back. In fact, luckily I was driving a Volvo SUV, built like a tank. So even though the SUV was totaled, the insurance company immediately gave me about $5,000 more than the car was worth.

I am positive they were trying to give me an incentive to quickly settle, which I did within a matter of days. (I did want to give myself 48 hours to see if I was really fully OK, which I was).

Other “events” over our lives include the “normal busted windshield, when a rock was kicked up on the freeway in front of our car. (We had 100 percent glass coverage so it was replaced at no cost to us. But, again, our collision rates went up for the next three years).

Over the years, I have had at least three “near misses” with other deer. These creatures are almost indestructible. It seems no matter how hard one is hit, they just seem to bounce back.

This morning, my deer just bounced off my front end, immediately turned around and ran back across the road almost getting hit by a car coming in the other direction and continued back into the woods.

Funny enough, my wife skidded off a snow-covered road back in New England into a tree. The car was totaled. She was uninjured. For some reason, the insurance claim was paid off and our insurance rate did not go up for the next few years. (Don’t ask me to explain this, perhaps one of the insurance people who read this column can explain why that was).

I think the strangest “collision we ever had was when a red tailed hawk bounced off our windshield. Hawks are supposed to have superb vision. Perhaps it was chasing some prey and failed to notice its surroundings.

For quite a long time, I drove a motorcycle. Please don’t get me started about how truly dangerous that was. I think that most car drivers when they see a motorcycle believe they are like bicycle riders who will simply “give way to the approaching car – even though in most cases, the bicycle has the right of way (like a pedestrian).

Finally, three years ago, I decided it was more important to preserve my life than it was to ride the motorcycle. (In emergency rooms, motorcycles are called donorcycles.)

 

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