I’m fine mom, but I was in a car accident the other night (JEFF EDELSTEIN COLUMN) – The Trentonian

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“Are you OK?” the stranger in a white pick-up truck asked me.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” I said.
“You’re on the sidewalk,” he noted.
He was right. I was on the sidewalk. And by “you’re on the sidewalk” he meant me and my car. Both on the sidewalk.
“Oh yeah. Right.” I said. “Nope, I’m OK. Car accident. Just waiting for the police.”
So yes. Car accident the other night. First time I’ve been in an accident in … man, I think I have to go back to college. So either I’m A) lucky, B) a great driver, or C) kind of a hermit who doesn’t get out all that much.
Honestly, probably all three. (By the way, that college accident? I was driving with two friends, one from Maryland, one from Pennsylvania, who were crashing at my parent’s house in Parsippany. We were going to a Grateful Dead show the next night. I was showing them around my hometown when I came to a “Y” intersection. I was coming up the Y, about to go right. I had the total right of way, no stop sign or yield. Someone was coming down from the left side of the “Y,” about to make a right onto the other side. They had a stop sign. They didn’t stop. Nailed me, spun me around. No injuries. Best part? We were smoking a joint when this happened, and I was holding the joint. And despite the accident, I managed to hold on to the joint!) (The joint played no role in the accident, to be clear. Lady blew a stop sign.) (Kids, never smoke and drive.) (I was an idiot as a youth.) (Anyway.)
Anyway, I was coming home from the liquor store the other night (whoa, just sensed a trend here) and someone — nice college kid, as it turns out — was pulling onto the road and clearly didn’t see me and boom, crash, bang T-boned me right onto the sidewalk.
I was shaken, but uninjured. (More or less. My neck hurts as I type this, but more in a “I’m 52 and out of shape and my neck got jostled” kind of way as opposed to a “call an ambulance, it appears as if my head is about to fall off” situation.)
But I’ll tell ya: I didn’t like it one bit.
I mean, obviously, right? But in that split second of “holy crap, what the eff is going on, yup, I just got hit, gonna have to navigate through a telephone pole or two here, hold on, up on the sidewalk, am I dead? Nope. All good” I was pretty darned angry.
After all — and this statistic hurts, it’s one of those we all collectively just stick our head in the sand in but I’m a truth-teller, so here we go — a little more than 1% of us will bite the big one in the car accident.
It’s true. Think about that.
To be clear about how math works, you don’t have a 1% chance of dying every time you get in a car. This is over the course of a lifetime. But still: It’s a huge number. I mean, look around at 100 people. Statistically speaking, one of them will die in a car accident.
Go to a 10,000 seat arena for a concert. About 100 of your fellow concert-goers will perish in an auto accident.
Somehow, we’re pretty OK with this, with what amounts to a pretty big, outsized risk.
I honestly — not kidding here — have never understood why we don’t outfit all our cars in standard-sized bumper material. You know, so when there is an accident, we just bounce around instead of our cars getting mushed. I’m sure there’s some physics involved I’m not taking into account, but the point remains: We could almost certainly make our cars safer.
But then they wouldn’t be as pretty. Live fast, etc.
In the meantime, I walked away from the accident unharmed, the damage to my car ain’t terrible, and I didn’t even break the bottle of bourbon I was ferrying back from the liquor store. All in all, I’d give the trip a 3 out 10.
Stay safe out there, friends.
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