Smash of Smashness

Last weekend the kids and I made plans to visit my parents and end our hectic Summer with a fun trip to my favorite amusement park. Little has been once before and she absolutely loved it. It would have been the Twins’ first experience with anything amusement related and I was so excited to see Champ flying around in the airplane ride and riding around in the train cars. Crash is a bit more reserved so I’m not sure if he actually would have enjoyed the rides just yet, but he would have enjoyed the ice cream and other various park treats. It was supposed to be a fun, relaxing weekend after a stressful week.

I say supposed to be, because as we were trucking along on the interstate our left rear tire blew out. I’m not sure if it was a pothole, the age of the tire, or something else that caused it to fail, but the tread separated; whipped around in the wheel well several times before finally flying off and alerting me to a problem. We were able to pull safely off to the side of the highway, but there was an unusual amount of traffic for a Saturday morning and I didn’t feel safe getting out of the car to see what damage we had incurred. I knew my tire would need to be changed at least so I called our insurance company and requested roadside assistance.

Something else unusual aside from the amount of traffic, our insurance company could only find one towing company willing to come out and inspect the damage. This was after it took us nearly an hour to pinpoint our location. I pulled off the road as soon as I saw tire bits flying down the road behind me, concerned more for the safety of myself and my children than exactly where I was at that point. Once I came to a stop and began looking for mile markers or other distinguishing landmarks I realized I ended up exactly between anything. I had just passed an exit, but hadn’t noticed the number trying to get off the road safely before anything else, and the next mile marker was just out of my line of sight. The only thing I knew was which interstate I was on and which direction I was heading.

Shouldn’t be an issue in the days of smartphones tracking our every move right? WRONG. The first thing I did when calling for help was flip on my location so help could find me. That’s what the location data from your phone is supposed to do after all, except I ended up in a data service dead zone. My GPS wouldn’t load. I could make phone calls all day long, but my GPS was useless. Eventually I got enough bars to load Facebook of all things to pinpoint my location. The dispatcher put my location on the map and called around trying to find a service provider. She found one, but his generous ETA was 90 minutes. An hour an a half sitting on the side of a busy interstate with my kids, other motorist swerving wildly around the debris left in the road from my tire. With. My. Kids. In. The. Car.

There was nothing that could be done. Hubs was at work and didn’t have his phone, I didn’t have anyone else to call except my own parents who were also at least 90 minutes away. I couldn’t limp the car to the next exit because I had no idea where the next exit was, and my kids are too young to understand the dangers of the road so we couldn’t get out and sit a safe distance away on the median or elsewhere. Plus it was 80+F not a cloud in the sky.

So I popped in a dvd for the kids, made sure they stayed in their seats with their safety belts fastened, kept my eyes glued to my mirrors and hand by the gear shifter in case I needed to maneuver farther off the road for any reason. For an hour and a half, until the blessed yellow flash of the tow truck lights popped up on the horizon.

Once the two truck arrived we moved the car back onto level ground and discovered that I needed much more than a simple tire change.

Not only was my poor tire shredded to bits, the tread flying around in my wheel well at 70mph wrenched my gas line from the gas tank, cracked the gas tank in the process, bent the frame, destroyed the back bumper, cracked the tail light assembly, destroyed the sway bar, severed the brake lines and all the electrical cables to the rear of the car. No amount of tire changing in the world would have made the car safe to drive. I hadn’t actually gotten out of the car at all to inspect the damage until the wrecker arrived just for my own safety.

I can change a tire with no issues. I’m not risking my own life and limb with my kids watching when I pay for roadside. So… up until that point I didn’t believe I needed anything other than a tire which is what I made the claim to insurance as. The driver of the wrecker took one look at it and said: “nope. You can’t drive that.” I agreed with him 100% and he called my insurance company to tell them the extent of the damage.

The insurance company, as insurance companies do, told him that they were only the roadside department and if I needed to make a claim I would have to call the claims department. So I did… two hours later I got my claim filed. Thank goodness the tow driver was gracious and stayed until I could get authorization for the tow. I don’t know how long we would have been waiting otherwise.

Of course it wasn’t a “family sized” wrecker and we had nowhere to wait and nowhere to go once he took the van. Hubs had just gotten off work and couldn’t make it down to us in less than an hour, but my parents had decided on a whim to come up and visit with the kids at our house after the tire fiasco. They arrived at the same exit on the interstate just as the wrecker arrived and were able to take the kids in their car.

Six hours after the beginning of our journey, we finally made it home. Hubs met us at the dealership, we got all of the kids home safely and for all of the time the wrecker spent with us that afternoon the towing bill was shockingly affordable.

We’re still waiting to hear from the insurance adjuster, but from Hubs’ initial assessment, we just might have totaled the car. Which I guess isn’t really a horrible way to total a car all things considered. If I had to have an accident, at least it didn’t involve any other motorists, and no one was hurt. If the car is indeed a total loss this will be the third vehicle I’ve lost due to catastrophic accidental damage that wasn’t in anyway my fault. Lol. 🤷🏻‍♀️