You know what happens too often? #2

People using their car to damage mine. Back on Friday, I was waiting for traffic to subside to leave a small parking lot (where I was getting breakfast), and a guy driving a pickup truck backed into my car, damaging the rear passenger-side door, quarter-panel (I think that’s what it’s called), and the wheel well. He admitted he wasn’t looking and would call his insurance company to tell them what he did, and that I shouldn’t have to pay for anything.

One would expect this to cause massive inconvenience. I’ve had my car in for repairs before, and borrowed a rental car from the Toyota dealership (I say borrowed because I didn’t have to pay for the rental). I got a call last night (after they’ve had the car for five days) telling me the total is over $2560 and might be fixed by the end of next week. Originally when I brought it in that Friday early afternoon, I was told it would be about a week and a half. But my insurance company told the autobody shop to go ahead with all repairs with my permission, meaning the two insurance companies agreed that the other guy was fully at fault.

In accordance to Murphy’s Law, I am leaving this Friday on a road trip to San Luis Obispo for a friend‘s graduation (you’ve seen him before). I can deal with a rental car (even if it’s an American car), but I’d really rather not use an unfamiliar vehicle for a long driving trip. Now I have no choice, unless I go back to the car rental agency and try to get a more familiar car (or at least a Japanese model).

So now you want to know what I mean by “happens too often.” This is the fourth time in 11 years that someone has hit my car, three of those incidents required long repairs. The first time, it was shortly before a road trip to southern California for my sister’s wedding, and since the owner of the repair shop couldn’t finish in the time he promised, he let us borrow his own car, which was small and underpowered (and he wouldn’t have to pay for a rental). We couldn’t fit everything in it that we needed to bring for the wedding and it had trouble driving uphill (which made driving on inclined freeways difficult). In that case, an older woman decided to make a left turn across my lane without looking.

In the second case, I was waiting in a line of several cars at a stop light. Some older guy in a sports convertible decided to floor the gas pedal and pass on the left, taking out my side view mirror, scraping a car two spots in front of me (the car immediately in front of me was smaller and was protected by mine), and, at 40+mph, rear-ending a car stopped at the light in the left lane, requiring an ambulance to take the passenger in the rear-ended vehicle to the hospital (the driver could at least walk to the ambulance). It was nearly $1000 just to replace the side mirror.

The third incident: I was stopped at the crosswalk for a red light. The older woman in an SUV behind me was also stopped, but then started moving well before the light changed to green, hitting the back of my car. I put the car into park and got out, she didn’t move. I didn’t see any visible damage, and didn’t feel any structural damage. While I was inspecting my car, the light had changed to green and cars behind mine honked their horns (note: horns are only meant to be used to warn of safety concerns, not that the light is green). She wouldn’t even open the window to talk or acknowledge she did anything. Then she moved into the right lane and took off. At that point, there wasn’t anything I could do, so I got back into the car, but the light had changed back to red.

This most recent incident was the fourth time. The driver was younger than the other three times, mid-thirties perhaps, and worked at a local tattoo parlor. Fortunately, he was friendly and apologetic, maybe because he saw me get out of the car with my camera (which I carry in my computer bag, and my phone can also take photos), or maybe he’s just a friendly guy. As he was driving a truck, there was no damage to his vehicle bumper.

In all four cases, the driver was older than me (and split 50% men and women), and yet insurance companies and statistics say younger males, like myself, are much more dangerous drivers, causing my initial insurance rates to be higher than for any other demographic group. Aren’t there laws against this type of profiling?

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