I recently survived a horrific car crash. I feel fortunate to have escaped with only bumps and bruises, but my 2019 Golf R was totaled.

It was the Friday before Valentine’s Day. Like many, I normally work from home due to COVID-19, but I came into work to debug one of our test cars. We were able to get a new thing working, which made me pretty happy since that meant I didn’t have to go up north to the Upper Peninsula with the car the following week. I expected this job to take much longer, so I was glad when it worked right away.

Anyway, it was Friday, good tunes on the radio, heading home early, light turned green. Life was good.

Well, not quite.

As I crossed M-59 southbound on Hickory Ridge, a 2013 Ford Escape hit me on the driver side, a classic t-bone accident. I remember looking out my window, seeing the car barreling towards me, thinking, “what the hell!” My dash cam video includes a view of me in the car. When I look at this video, I can see the abject terror in my eyes as I hear myself screaming.

2019 Golf R accident
The car that hit me was probably going 50-60 mph.
I swerved slightly to the right just before impact.

The car hits me, the side curtain airbag deploys, car stops moving. I check to see if anything is broken or bleeding. A VW Car-Net operator calls me (“who’s talking to me?”) to see if I’m okay, then calls 911. The sheriff arrives shortly, then the fire department. They cut the door open and start checking to see if I’m okay. As I mentioned, it just seems to be bumps and bruises. I walk to the fire truck so they can measure some vitals.

Modern safety technology helped me survive this crash1. I am indebted to all of the engineers who protected me. I worked on airbag sensors for many years, determining if an airbag should deploy or not. I have no idea if anything I ever worked on saved a life. I always hoped my work was never necessary. This was my reminder that it’s all worth it.

There’s a cliché about life changing in the blink of an eye. The time from when my light turned green to my car sitting in the median was about 8 seconds. That’s barely anything in a day, let alone a lifetime. What I’m really saying is go hug your spouse, partner, kids, dogs, cats, etc.

And behold joy and gladness, slaying oxen, and killing sheep, eating flesh, and drinking wine: let us eat and drink; for to morrow we shall die.
—Isaiah 22:13 (KJV)

Crankiness Rating:

Lost a thing, kept my life