had a wreck

This post is about one of those instances in your life that happens in about 3 seconds but it takes about 15 minutes for you to tell it. I promise, I won’t take 15 minutes.  This is about my desire to bring back vehicle inspections for all cars. You see, in GA, they did away with car inspections years ago and gave into the tree huggers and now we just do emissions inspections. If we still had car inspections – you know, make sure crap doesn’t fall off of your car – I wouldn’t be writing about this incident.

My wife and I carpool to work. I travel a total of about 15 miles – mostly on I-75 north from my home in west mid-town. Her office is about halfway to my office. About 4 miles into the trip, cruising along at 70 MPH in the far right lane, a pickup truck in the next left lane about 50 feet ahead runs over something with his tire. It shoots out into my lane about 40 feet in front of us.

First thought – a piece of wood, I can survive hitting it. In a flash, a nano-second, I see sparks coming off of this object. Definitely not wood – this is something metal … not a good thing. Nano-seconds later, this metal thing hits my car – I’m thinking it has gone under the carriage and will certainly punch a hole in an oil pan or tear up something vital to the vehicle. Wrong.  It hit the bumper.

Nano-seconds later, this thing has shot out again to about 40 feet  in front of me. My mind is saying, “What the hell is this thing – it’s alive!” It’s in the air again. It bounced off the pavement like a spring. Brain computes … “Damn, it’s a freaking shock absorber.” Headed dead center for my car and at a much higher elevation – like eye level.

Nano-seconds later, I make an evasive move to the emergency lane to try to avoid hitting this flying shock absorber. Too late. Impact. Like someone had shot this thing at us like an arrow. One end of this flying shock absorber nailed the windshield right in my vision. Almost made it all the way through The inner layer of the glass sprayed all over my lap. The impact noise was deafening. Where it ended up I have no clue. But the damage was done.

Thankfully, my wife and I were fine – just a bit shooken up. I’m out $635.07 for a new windshield – I have a $1000 deductible on my old ’94 beemer. By the time I dropped off my wife a couple of miles down the road, we had had time to compose ourselves and catch our breathe. I had a very small crack about where this flying shock absorber hit the windshield, I had planned to have a service do the small repair to keep it from spreading. As we exited the freeway to her office, sitting at a traffic signal, I said, “Well, we don’t have to worry about fixing that crack any longer.” We both had a pretty good laugh.

What ticks me off is that I was almost killed by a damn flying shock absorber. A shock absorber just fell off someone’s car. Just ain’t right. If I’d been killed, at least I know I would have been breathing clean air as I took my last breathe, thanks to the idiots who did away with the inspection process.

Requiring people who get behind the wheel of tons of steel to keep them in good working order ain’t brain surgery. Bring back vehicle inspections.

Have a great weekend.


Back on October 18th, I wrote a post entitled Blinded By The Light. It was about using sunglasses and keeping your windshield clean – inside and out – so you reduce your odds of having a wreck (and maybe getting killed) and creating hassles in your life. And if you’ve ever had a car wreck in your life (the average is once every 7 years for most Americans), you know that it causes hassels in your life. And Terry and I are ALL about eliminating hassles. Now THAT ain’t brain surgery.

I want to bring something else to your attention that involves clean windshields. It’s about a simple and easy-to-use product on the market that you have probably never heard of before. It’s called Aquapel by PPG (you know, the paint and glass people). Disclaimer …. I have no connection to PPG or Aquapel – I just think it is way too cool and I use it and I tell everyone about it. Aquapel is a rain repellent glass treatment. And it works. For about a year. Then you do it again. Not brain surgery.

This from the Aquapel website:

Using technology innovated for the aviation industry, PPG’s Aquapel® Glass Treatment forms a chemical bond with the glass which increases water repellency, causing it to bead and easily shed off the glass. These fluorinated compounds apply in just minutes to a clean, dry windshield or any exterior glass surface, and last up to six times longer than silicon-based products.

Additionally, Aquapel® Glass Treatment remains highly effective after months of normal use, including driving in rain and snow, car washing, and glass cleaning.

Look, Terry and I work in and around the automotive aftermarket. When I discovered this product about three years ago, I tried to get body shops, mechanical shops, and windshield replacement people to take this product and create an added-value service to offer their customers. None did. Why? I don’t know – lazy I guess. They could get at least $19.95 per treatment for this. I know I would have gladly paid someone to do it if they had only asked at the QuickLube place or when I took my car in for service …. but “NO”. Once again, it ain’t brain surgery.

So, find Aquapel on your own. Visit the website. Buy it. You may have to go to your local professioanl shop supplier. Ask for it. They can get it. They may have to order it, but they can get it. PPG is a BIG company.

Apply it yourself. It is very easy. Takes no time. You won’t believe how well this stuff repels water and helps keep your windshield clean. For a clean windshield fanatic, it is awesome. Give it a try.


UPDATE: 14 Mar 07 … I have discovered you can purchase Aquapel on the Amazon store – just search Aquapel.

Regardless of how well we drive and watch out for the other guy the chances are you will make a visit to a collision repair facility every 7 years.  The good news in the last statement would be the fact that you make the visit to the collision center rather than the hospital or worse yet the morgue.

Most individuals have no idea what to do or how to react once an accident has taken place.  Sure most of us realize we should call law enforcement and medical care if needed but what next?  Do we call a repair facility, do we let the insurance company tell us where to take the vehicle or do we leave it up to the tow truck?

We suggest you locate the most reputable shop in your local area and let them create you an estimate.  The vast majority of all estimates are created using similar software (3 major estiamting software programs are used).  The differences in any estimate should be very slight unless your estimator is experienced and knows to look for hidden damage on the vehicle.  The most common practice is to look over the vehicle, assess the damage and submit an estimate to you or your insurance carrier.  Typically the carrier will have one of their field personnel go to the shop and look over the vehicle with the shop estimator. (Negotiations usually take place at this juncture)

Experienced shops and insurance field adjustors will know to look for hidden damage behind the main panels and underneath.  Sometimes a supplemental claim will be filed once the hidden damage is discovered.

One important factor when deciding on a repair facility is the method in which you are treated at the shop.  Were you greeted by friendly employees who were dressed properly for the job?  (Example: clean polo or button up shirt with the facilities name embroidered on the left or a dirty t-shirt extolling the virtues of street pharmaceuticals or beer)  One can generally tell the quality of the repair by the quality of the outer office and employees.  Collision repair is a very professional and highly skilled job which requires a lot of capital investment and investment in human relations.  Well run shops will often have a waiting room resembling a Dr’s office and there is good reason for this.

The vast majority of individuals involved in a motor vehicle accident have collision insurance.  The insurance company by default is involved in our repair just as they are with our hospitalization.  We have to make a co-pay (deductible) just like medical insurance and we expect the shop to eat the charges that exceed the allowable amount determined by the insurance carrier.   The major difference would be that the shop has to repair the vehicle to our liking and keep it within the allowable amount of money as suggested by the insurance carrier.

Often there is much disagreement between the two parties as to what actually constitutes a quality repair.  That is when we, as consumers, must get involved and demand a complete quality job.  Again, choose the repair facility wisely and if there are discrepancies between what the shop wants to do versus what will be paid for by your insurance carrier you must get involved and demand a quality repair.  You car is one of the largest investments you will make in your entire life. And your life depends on this vehicle performing properly and safely to protect you in case of an accident. It’s your car and your choice where you get it repaired. Don’t let any one tell you different.

Richard & Terry