On Monday, March 23rd I was driving from home on the West Island to a business meeting in Brossard on a six-lane highway in Montreal, Highway 20, through the Turcot yards, when after coming over the top of a rise in the highway I came upon a traffic jam caused by road repair. I had to stop quite quickly and I was in the slow lane. A couple of seconds later the world exploded!
I was flung violently against the dash and steering wheel at about a 45 degree angle as my seat had come off its rails, and I ducked as glass fell all around me.
I scrambled to get out of my Windstar van, and walked along the highway to the back of the van where a pile of debris was on the ground. A huge tractor-trailer had driven into/through the back of my van. The driver was very apologetic, saying he just couldn't stop, as he was carrying a heavy load of aluminum ingots, and he called the police.
When the highway patrol arrived, I had already filled out the insurance forms in the truck cab, and was standing at the front of the truck brushing a couple of windows' worth of glass off of me. The patrolman asked me if I had checked the van to see how the driver was, as he mistook me for the truck driver, and asked if he should call the ambulance right away.
I said it wouldn't be necessary, and after everybody had a wondering look at the van, we all drove off, as the van was still drive-able despite missing several feet of body.
I had been hit so hard my lenses had popped out of my glasses, and my earpiece for my blackberry had ended up in the back seat alongside one of my lenses. I stopped off at the optometrists and had them fix my glasses then went to the walk-in clinic. They originally thought I had a broken knee-cap but after a few hours and x-rays later they decided I was the luckiest guy they had seen in a long time, and that all I had were some scrapes and bad bruising on the knees and shoulders, along with the expected concussion.
The van is a write-off so I am looking at new vehicles this week, with a particular interest in vehicles with a good crash rating.
Family members almost fainted when they saw the van and couldn't believe that I was O.K. For those of you who would uncharitably claim that I was saved due to sufficient padding, I would claim it was because of my football, hockey and rugby experience (now a distant memory) which allowed me to survive the crash.
An aircraft engineer friend of mine estimated that the force to shear off the seat bolts would exceed 4 G's, so I guess I'm ready to try the fighter pilot scenario on Flight Simulator on my PC.
It was totally unexpected and there was nothing I could have done to avoid the accident. So take some time to spend with your loved ones because you never know what could happen through no fault of your own. Take the time to reach out and contact old friends and relatives. You never know that you might not get another chance.