The car behind us did not.
The car behind them did not.
The car behind them did not.
The first hit, obviously, was the hardest. Hawk and I both jolted forward and I thought for sure our airbags were going to deploy (they did not.) I heard the squeal of tires behind us and I knew - and then, SLAM. It really makes a noise just like that. I was looking right at Hawk when it happened and his head and neck snapped forward just as mine did. Our car inched slowly toward the car in front of us with each successive hit. Hawk slammed his foot down hard on the brake and I threw our car into "park," grabbing for the parking brake as well. As the second and third car jolts hit, our car got even closer to the one in front of us, but thank goodness, we did not connect.
We took just a moment to breathe and assess. Then I turned around to look at the car behind us.
It seemed there was a huge gap between the car that hit us and, well, us. Like several feet of gap, enough for another car to fit in there. Did the car right behind us hit and drive away? I think this is the most likely explanation, because no way did 3 cars hit us and we go that far forward. In fact, I distinctly remember grabbing the memo pad I keep in my glove box and turning around to get the first car's license plate number, because I was worried he might drive away. That's why I noticed the gap. Odd.
There is a brand new law in Utah that if you are in a fender bender on the freeway, you must get off at the next exit and wait for police help there. You cannot pull off to the shoulders any more. I told Hawk about this and he started off toward the next exit, but when I looked back after a moment, no one else from that lane was moving. So we pulled off onto the shoulder and waited, but by that point we had made it far enough that it was hard to see where we had been. It was also very dark at this point.
I got out of the car and checked the back. Miraculously, there was no visible damage. None. I couldn't believe it. There may be a few chips to the paint, and there may be damage that we can't see, but right now I would like to publicly thank Toyota for making their cars out of AWESOME and not using cheap-o plastic bumpers.
We waited on the shoulder for 10 minutes trying to figure out what to do. We couldn't see anyone else pulling off. It looked like traffic was slowed at that area, but we couldn't really tell, and if it was, how were we supposed to get back there? Back up on the freeway? Get off the freeway and circle back around to it? I realize now that we should have just waited there instead of starting to exit, but the new law was fresh in my mind and I was scared.
And I really think that the car that hit us first had driven off immediately after the accident, when we were breathing and checking to make sure our lives were still intact.
And we didn't hit the car in front of us, and there was no damage to our car, so...
We drove off (and made it to the work party on time, no less. Though I had Hawk take me home halfway through.)
I am terrified that we did the wrong thing. I know we did the wrong thing, and now it cannot be fixed, and I am scared. I'm scared because my head, neck and back are killing me and Hawk's back is bothering him. I'm scared because Sparrow very easily could have been in that car with us, and who knows how this would have affected him. I'm scared because every time Hawk has a work party, I get injured (last year we went ice skating and I got a concussion.) I'm worried for the people behind us that were sandwiched in there. I'm worried because I really don't know exactly what happened, and I have been thinking weirdly all evening. I just don't even know what to do. Except I'm not going to write about it any more, because I'm shaking too hard to type now.
So that was my first car accident. And I did everything all wrong. And I blame the stupid new law because I was too scared and fixated on getting off the freeway to stop and figure out what to do.