March 14 Day 371: We Are OK

Umm, this birthday isn’t going to plan. My son Zachary and I went to record a Math Around Town piece in the Salishan neighborhood and the trip home was exciting—but not in a good way.

As we entered I-705 from the 7 extension near the Tacoma Dome, a vehicle from the I-5 N ramp blew a front tire and collided with us.

First: Everyone is fine. The two of us in our car and the three of them in the other.

Second: This is what insurance is for right?

This was my first real car accident. Not too bad for more than 40 years of driving. It felt surreal. I was looking to merge onto I-705 from the Route 7 extension. I hadn’t even started to move out of my lane when I felt my car start to skid and time slowed down. My brain ran through a series of questions: Where did that brown van come from? Did it really just hit me? How do I stop it? Is this what an accident feels like? Are we going to be OK?

I took my foot off the gas and hit the breaks. The other vehicle bounced off and slid across three lanes, hitting the barrier on the other side. A third vehicle behind avoided being involved in the collision and thankfully no other cars were around at the time.

Everyone involved was kind. Zachary waited for a clear opening and ran to check on the people in the other car. We were all shaken but so far seemed alright. He got their phone number and we communicated by text. I called 9-1-1; we waited.

The adrenaline rush wore off and that shaky feeling took over. I was grateful to be sitting safely in my car to the side of the road and to not be alone. The State Patrol apologized for the length of time it took to arrive on the scene (I think it might have been 10 minutes.) They were helpful and efficient. The officer even wished me a happy birthday when he returned my license, insurance, and registration. He didn’t believe the axle was involved and thought we could probably drive home. He was right. We stayed on side streets the whole way. The insurance claim has been started. I will call the “select service center” Monday morning and bring our dear Subaru in for an estimate once I can get an appointment.

Text exchange between me and the other driver.

At least the day ended with a rainbow. So there is always hope.

Published by Jenny Quinn

Mathematician. Mother. Wife. Leader. I am a professor of mathematics at the University of Washington Tacoma. Mother of Anson and Zachary. Wife to Mark. President of the Mathematical Association of America.

5 thoughts on “March 14 Day 371: We Are OK

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