According to Tom Kriser, AP writer for Yahoo Autos, seven of nine midsize SUV received a marginal or poor crash test rating conducted by an insurance industry group. This reminded me of when I rolled my SUV down a busy interstate on ramp and the driving and life lessons the experience taught me.
Accommodate for Weather
When I set out to drop my dad off at the airport, it was dark and dreary. It started to rain on the hour drive. When I left the airport, my visibility was blurry with thick drops of slow dripping rain. It was before 6 A.M. and the sun wouldn’t peek out from behind the dark clouds for another few hours.
Even though I was unfamiliar with the drive home and road conditions were hazardous, I drove my normal speed. I was angry with the more cautious drivers ahead of me that were delaying my drive. The exit ramp that led to the interstate I needed was a tight spiral, with one lane of traffic getting off and another lane trying to merge in. It is a precarious spot in decent weather and downright scary in miserable, dark weather and low visibility. But I still drove my normal speed, not wanting to slow down and arrive home any later than necessary.
I shot down the off ramp too fast, hit a wet patch and slid, then spun, then flipped my Chevy Tracker a full rotation and a half, landing face down on the passenger side.
Always Wear Your Seat belts
Thankfully I was alone in the car. I didn’t like to drive by myself at the time and debating taking my husband and son with me on the trip. It was an early morning flight and if I had drug my son out of bed, he would have sprawled in the back seat, asleep. The first thing he always asked when crashing in the back seat was, “Can I take off my seat belt?” Even when we said “no” he sometimes unclasped the seatbelt anyway, getting more comfortable without the seatbelt biting into his midsection.
I was going slow enough down the off ramp that my accident was minor (besides the fact that I rolled and totaled my SUV). No major injuries. In fact, I was lucky enough not to have a single scratch. But how would my son have fared in the back seat with no seat belt on? I rolled my SUV a full rotation and a half. Thump, thump, THUMP down the grassy embankment. I shudder to think at the extent of injuries my son would have sustained had he been in the back seat of that SUV with no seat belt when it rolled.
Know Cell Phone Numbers
In an accident, your cell phone might not always be accessible. After rolling the car three times, my cell phone was lost in a jumble of loose items that were all lying crumpled in the bottom of the car (which used to be the passenger side door). A good Samaritan was kind enough to let me borrow her cell phone, but without the numbers preprogrammed who could I call? I was lucky enough to remember my father’s cell phone number off the top of my head, and fortunate that he hadn’t yet boarded his plane. For the life of me I could not remember my husband’s cell phone number, as he was preprogrammed in my phone and I had never bothered to learn it.
Have a Backup Plan
My father and I owned our own business, and my father was headed out of town for a week. I was already stressed about running the store myself and that was before I flipped three times down a hill in my SUV. My father didn’t want to cancel his trip considering his flight was preparing to board. In the end he flew out of state and I closed down the shop for two days.
You never know when an accident will happen, but having the right insurance and preparations in place can make any accident easier to deal with. Keep safety in mind by obeying all traffic laws and practice safe driving habits, especially in less than ideal weather. Insist your children always wear their seatbelt, even in the back seat, and set a positive example by wearing yours as well. Life is a journey and everyone should enjoy the ride.
Tom Krisher, “Chevy Equinox, GMC Terrain only midsize SUVs to get top rating in tough crash tests,” Yahoo Autos