The Crash

Ben Lewis, Chief Designer

I have always said that I have the worst luck. On a beautiful April day last year I was asked to do a simple, routine task: drive my brother to his baseball practice at the high school. Hopping in the car, I dreaded the mundane drive ahead. Little did I know that this drive would be anything but boring.

I cruised down the highway, enjoying the beautiful spring weather and fresh air. Then, merging from 131 to I-94, something unexpected happened. A solid sheet of metal, about 6 feet wide, 3 feet long, and 4 inches tall, suddenly fell off of the semi truck two cars ahead of me. The car in front of me swerved to the left to evade the metal but was unable to avoid it, clipping it with their two right tires. This sent the sheet flying up into the air and directly at my car. I slammed on the brakes and put my arm in front of my brother, bracing for a potentially fatal impact as the sheet came toward us, flipping and twirling through the air.

When this was all happening, I wasn’t really thinking. My life didn’t “flash before my eyes,” but the thought that I might die definitely flashed in my mind. Thankfully, I would live to tell the tale. The sheet hit the ground right in front of my car, sticking up at an angle upon collision. The way it landed put it above my tire but just under the nose of my car. This popped the front of my car into the air, allowing the sheet to deal a fatal blow to the transmission of my 2008 Pontiac G6. Suddenly, I felt another jolt as it collided with my back tires and slammed the front of my car back onto the highway.

This is a picture that the mechanics sent to my parents. They were shocked since they had never seen this big of a gash in a transmission. They found it funny that the only part of the car that was ACTUALLY damaged was the transmission.

Awestruck, I continued to drive for a few seconds until I made it around the corner onto 1-94. The most surprising part of this whole fiasco was when I checked my rear view mirror to see what kind of commotion followed me, I saw cloud of thick black smog trailing my car. My jaw dropped at the sight of this, and suddenly, my car began to slow down on its own. I pulled over to the side of the road and got out of the car. I heard a hissing sound, and upon investigating I discovered a pool of oily liquid under the front of my car. My eyes followed the trail, which stretched all the way back to the scene of incident. Hearing the strange hissing sound and seeing the heavy smog my car emitted, my brother and I had the same reaction: RUN!

As we moved away from the whistling, steaming car, I envisioned the classic action movie scene where someone runs away as a massive cloud of fire explodes behind them. Fortunately, this was not the case. Instead, my car just continued to smoke and hiss.  

Furious at the potential that my car was completely ruined, I screamed, “just my luck!” My brother, on the other hand, was just worried about getting to practice on time, so I called my parents and asked them what to do. They told me to lock my car and leave it on the side of the highway, then to find someone who could drive my brother the rest of the way to practice. As it turned out, one of our family friends, whose son is also on the baseball team, saw us and stopped on Oakland to pick us up. After making the long walk down the highway to their car, we drove the rest of the way to practice and I was dropped off at home. However, it wasn’t until the next morning when I instinctively walked to the driveway where my car was parked that the registered for with me.

Overall, the experience was unique to say the least. It is just my luck that I would get in an accident not with another person, but with an inanimate object, a projectile, a part of a semi truck. If this wasn’t bad enough on its own, it just had to hit the most expensive part in my car. Luckily, my insurance didn’t rise since my situation was classified as a “road hazard.”  Fast forward a few weeks, with a newly installed transmission, my car was up and running again. Although the whole situation was super lucky, it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.