After all, no one got injured.
So I'm driving Leaves on the Current to work in her car, which is significantly heavier than mine. I have just changed lanes on the SW-SE Freeway preparing to get off for the House side of Capital Hill. I glance up in my rearview mirror to see that the car that had been tailgating me in the lane I have just left is still tail-gating me. It was a glance of less than 1/2 a second.
I look up and there is car now suddenly stopped at an angle in front of me.
I slammed on my brakes, sufficient to have slowed down to less than ten miles an hour when I hit him, unfortunately at an angle.
My tailgater stops about 2 inches short of my bumper, meaning had I stopped completely I would have been hit from behind and still pushed into the car in front of me.
We pull over to the shoulder. We call the police. They refuse to write a report because no one is injured and they do not see a reason to issue a traffic violation: someone had cut off the car in front of the Cadillac I hit, that car slammed on his breaks, and at first according to the driver he was going to try to steer around it and realized he couldn't. His turning at an angle was just enough to keep him from hitting the car in front of him, but enough to cause significant damage to our front end.
But there's more.
By the time the police car arrived we had pulled over to the shoulder. The policewoman, after informing us she would not write a police report, told us we had to get off the expressway.
I followed him and eventually we pulled into a parking lot to call our insurance companies and exchange information. More about the lot in a moment.
He is a combat infantryman veteran on his way to the VA. He was relaxed, thinking he was going to be responsible and his insurance would go up. I suppose I was calm until GEICO - who also insures his car - said that since I hit him everything would be paid from my policy, which means I start with a $500 deductible, and of course our rates will jump.
Leaves was not hurt, which she might have been had we been hit from behind.
Her passenger door would not completely open, so I expect we may have frame damage. We got her out of the driver side without having to twist her back, and put her in the back seat to get her to work, about 45 minutes later than expected.
It would have ten about 35 minutes, except for the fact that we were in the Capitol Police parking lot. They came over, made us get away from our cars, and had a dog check both cars for explosives, which pf course the pooch did not find.
They were actually apologetic, explaining that they knew we were just exchanging information for insurance purposes, but since it was a police lot, they were required to check and hoped we would understand.
What damage there is can be repaired.
Our policy has rental car replacement, so when I take the car in to the body shop tomorrow, everything will be done in one step, we will find out how long it will take, and the rental car company has already called and gotten our drivers' license information which will save time, and the rental will be at the auto body shop to save us time.
The problem with merging is it is impossible to change lanes on that freeway, except in the middle of the night, and still have a safe distance both in front of and behind you. If you wait for that you will never be able to merge.
I wasn't distracted. I was trying to keep a safe distance and be aware of all traffic around me.
The person truly responsible was 3 cars ahead of me, who apparently cut across several lanes of traffic without a turn single, forcing two cars ahead to slam on his brakes, and everything else followed.
The driver of the Cadillac, with three tours in Iraq as a combat infantryman, was certainly not upset, even when he thought it would be his insurance that was hit.
Most important, Leaves was not hurt in anyway, in part because we were not going fast enough for the airbag to deploy. She had her seatbelt on, strapped across Gregor her back brace, so not even a bruise from the seatbelt.
It's only money.
And the time lost because of the accident.
It could have been much worse.