I work nights. I live in the country. I drive 57 miles one-way down a dark, deserted highway. No, not a dark, desert highway. Wrong song. Anyway, nightly on my way home, I play chicken with the deer. Saturday night, the deer finally won.
I see them standing on the side of the road almost nightly. In the past, I have swerved to miss one on occasion. I thought I might have actually clipped one a few months ago. This one was STANDING in the middle of the road. He was in the right lane facing to the right. I swerved to the left. If he would have jumped the way he was facing or even just stood still, I would have missed him. He jumped left – right into my car. (Cue Timewarp song – “It’s just a jump to the left…”)
What my engine is supposed to look like…
What my engine looks like now…
The worst part was upon impact EVERYTHING went black. WTH?? Here are the thoughts that went through my head over the next 5 seconds…
1. Why can’t I see? Where are the stars and signs and lines on the road?
2. Am I dead? Wow, that was quick and painless.
3. Am I blind? I don’t think I was hit in the face by anything. I can see this jellyfish of an airbag in my way, ergo, I must not be blind.
4. Is my windshield now a bloodbath, blocking my view? Ewww. That visual needs to get out of my head right now.
5. What is that smell? Is it blood? Is it from the airbag going off? Maybe the engine is on fire. If the engine is on fire, don’t you think I’d be able to see that?
I don’t understand.
Wait! I can still see out of the driver’s side window. WTH?
Oh, duh, it’s the hood. My black hood is straight up in the air, blocking my vision. At least I’m not blind, but the car manufacturers should remedy that. That’s just dangerous. That could cause an accident….uh, yeah, whatever.
I think my engine is dead. No power steering. No power brakes. I coast to the right shoulder, looking out of the driver’s side window at the lines in the road to make sure I’m safely off the road. Vaguely, I hope there is not an abandoned car on the shoulder, but I figure if I hit it, it’s not really my fault. I can’t freakin’ see.
Stop. Sigh. Breathe.
Everything ok? I think so. No injuries? Except for thinking I was blinded for life and would have to buy one of those white canes with the red tips, but having no idea how I would choose the right cane if I couldn’t actually see it…no, I’m good. Cell phone? Right here, along with everything else from various locations of my car, now in a convenient and handy pile in my front seat.
What if the deer is actually in my engine? I try to look through the 3-inch slit between the hood and the dashboard, but I can’t see anything. Should I get out and check? I guess I have to. My thought process doesn’t go beyond that point to figure out what I will do if there actually IS a deer sitting on my engine, but I’m still thinking the engine may be on fire and I need to look.
Open car door…well, try to open car door. It will only open about 8 inches. I squeeze out and walk around front to look at the engine. No deer. Thank god. But, holy crap, my front end is a mess. Now, where am I? I need to call and give the police a mile marker. Luckily, there’s a sign right in front of my car. I almost ran into it. No kidding. I’m a mile from my house. Perfect.
When the police arrive, the officer says the deer is about 100 yards behind me on the left shoulder and casually mentions that the poor thing is still alive. He had to shoot the deer THREE times to kill it. Ugh. End to a perfect drive home.
Don’t worry, that shit’ll buff right out…
Update: Finale of the Deer vs. Truck saga
My truck is on its final journey to the junk yard. I’m so sad. The insurance co paid all but about $500 of what I owed, but I was due to buy new tires before winter, so it’s a wash.
Lesson Learned: a 70 mph front-end collision with air-bag deployment and over $12,000 of body and engine damage + I walked away with only a bruise from the seat belt = I’ll be buying another Nissan on Monday.