Yesterday morning I had a bit of an altercation with a volvo. Having just dropped Alexander off at his school, I was taking Lucy to her swimming lesson in Oxted. The weather was clear, bright sun and dry when the car crash happened.
As I went down Pendell Road towards Hawthorns school the black volvo pulled out of the school entrance in front of me. I just had time to start braking before impact. Fortunately I’d not being going that fast because I’d just come round a bend. It was probably slower than 20mph car crash into the side of the volvo.
Both my front airbags went off, and my glasses disappeared. The air was full of an acrid used fireworks smell. I could see some residual dust settling in the morning sunlight. The whole front of the car looked crumpled, but not as far as my footwell.
I had a moment of disbelief before I reacted. When I did I turned round to check on my daughter. Lucy was strapped in the back. As I turned she started crying, or maybe I just became aware of it then. I tried to reassure her, but couldn’t reach to unstrap her.
I undid my own seat belt and tried to open the door. It wouldn’t move, the car crash must have bent the frame. So I kicked it and it opened. That was when I realised that the engine was still running. So I switched it off and put the keys in my pocket. I still couldn’t see my glasses, but gave up looking for them to get Lucy.
I ran round the back of my car and got Lucy out. She was distressed but seemed OK. She got herself out of the seat when I unclipped her harness. I picked her up and cuddled her. She stopped crying almost immediately. Then she looked at our car and said “our car is damaged”!
It dawned on me standing between the two cars that I hadn’t seen any movement from the other car. So I opened the rear door and shouted to ask if they were OK. No answer.
Still carrying Lucy I went round to the passenger side of the other car and pulled open the door. A woman was sitting very still in the driving seat. My first thought was that she was badly hurt, or even dead. However she responded to my ‘are you all right?’
She was clearly shocked by the car crash, and me appearing with a little girl in my arms probably didn’t make her feel any better. I gave her some space to get out.
A man offered to help move the cars out of the way. He’d been coming the other way from me and got out of his car when he saw the car crash. I suggested that he take some pictures first just in case we needed them for the police or insurance. I gave him my camera and went back to my car to look for my glasses.
By this time a few other people were milling about offering to help. There was also a queue of traffic backing up. Someone found my glasses for me and the chap who took the pictures moved my car. A Fire & Rescue Service officer turned up randomly and helped to direct the clearing of the road.
Over on the other side of the road I kept out of the way with the other driver. She was mortified by having caused the crash. We exchanged contact details and reassured each other that we’d survived it. Not such a big deal.
Another mum from the school also pulled up and offered to take us somewhere. The Bursar also came out in his high vis jacket to see if he could help. They helped look after Lucy for a few moments while I recovered some things I knew we’d need soon from the car. I didn’t catch the lady’s name, but she was really helpful and friendly and took us both home.
Fantastic Service from Insurance Companies
I have to say that both insurance companies involved were really helpful. I was on the phone for over an hour. But the end result was that I had a resolution for the claim, my car was a total loss and they offered me money for it. I also got sorted out with a rental car until I got the money I needed for a replacement.
My insurance was with Allianz through the AA as a broker. The other driver was insured by Admiral. Admiral called me directly and apologised for the car crash, accepted liability and were going to offer me a settlement. If I hadn’t already called my own insurer then it might have saved me some time. I’m impressed by them both. If one of these companies offers you a decent premium then I recommend going with them.
Now I need to buy a replacement car. I would like a seven seater up to five years old and with less than 60k mileage. Any suggestions of models or dealers to look for, or avoid, are most welcome. Anywhere in the SE of England or Greater London area is good.