Thursday, November 03, 2011

So...last night I got into a car accident

Yesterday I had an unexpected trip to Dallas. Left Chicago at 9:30am and was supposed to land back at O'Hare at 10:50pm. A one day power trip for work that went great, but the details of it aren't that important.

With the meeting ending at 5pm, my return flight home was booked for 8:45pm. Making an earlier flight seemed improbable. Dallas traffic may or may not be as bad as Chicago's, but 5pm traffic is the same in any big city: horrible. Surprise surprise though, I made it to the Dallas/Fort-Worth airport by 6:10p. After dropping off the rental and getting through security, scanning the departure screens showed that there four different earlier flights then mine heading to Chicago. Long story short, while on the tram from Terminal E to Terminal A, I was able to cancel my scheduled 8:45p flight home for a 7:15p one. My text to Jeannette: "WHOOO - earlier flight, home way before midnight!!!"

Yeah, so I thought.
The 7:15p flight was late taking off because of maintenance. Both bathrooms were broken. Yes...really. So we didn't actually take off till 8:00pm. Not home as early as anticipated, but still going to be earlier than originally planned.

After having to walk from one end of Ohare all the way to the other to get my car (Midway is so much better), I was finally on the home stretch. This was around 10ish. 

Rather than driving from I-94 all the way down Foster to our condo, I opted to go a little farther south to Irving Park and then cut across. Makes for a short cross-city drive. All things are a go and moving great. Normally I would just head all the way to Lake Shore and take that up to our apartment. Lake Shore is faster and we live relatively close to it. But no, once I hit Broadway, for whatever reason going through my mind, I turned north and decided to stick to the side streets. 

A few blocks up, at the corner of W Cuyler and N Broadway, a guy pulled out in front of me.

At first it was that city thing where you creep out a few inches so you can see a little better. But then he must have had a moment where he thought he could pull out in front of me really quick and make it. He must have instantly realized what a dump failure prone idea that was because he didn't commit to it and slammed on the brakes.  

Unfortunately for the said driver, he was already all the way out in my lane!!! 

For my part coming upon this, I DIDN'T HAVE A STOP SIGN! While maintaining my steady pace along Broadway I wasn't on the phone, wasn't texting, had my hands on the wheel, just driving along like a good little Bobby.  But, it's hard to avoid someone pulling out right in front of you, and the rest, as they say, was t-bone history.  

Neither one of us were hurt. Both cars are drivable. We had to go over to the Addison street station to get a police report. The police officer we worked with stated I had the right of way; not having a stop sign makes that kind of obvious. 

Left there, headed back to Irving Park, and then on to Lakeshore (never change your routine route). Pulled up in front of our condo at 11:50pm.

Home only 10 minutes early.

Of course, the whole way home after the station I was analyzing all the things that might have prevented the accident. If I hadn't taken an earlier flight, if I hadn't stopped for gas and food on way home, if I hadn't taken Broadway but just kept on to Lakeshore, if I just hadn't done of them then maybe it wouldn't have happened.

But it did happen. That won't change.

Hindsight is 20/20, and this accident experience was a reminder for me of two things:

First...hindsight is only beneficial if it moves us forward.
To only think about what shouldn't have been done or should have been done is a waste of time if simmering on those ideas is all you do. There has to be some forward momentum action or change that comes from the hindsight. If not, then it is just a waste of time. Beating yourself up is pointless. Making adjustments and moving forward more focused and sharper is beneficial. Even in a situation like mine, where I truly didn't do anything wrong, you can learn and become better because of it.

Second...the things to be thankful for bring more beneficial thinking then the "what-if's".
Along with learning and making adjustments, finding thankfulness in an outcome is most important. Even the worst of situations have points of light in them. When I think of the fender bender I had, I'm thankful that...
  • I'm alive
  • It wasn't that bad
  • Family wasn't with me
  • Car is still drivable
  • It wasn't my fault
Realizing the reality of a rough situation is to see the good as well.

I had to drive on Broadway earlier today and went through the intersection where the accident occurred. As I did, I thanked God for my beat up, 13yr old Chevy Cavalier and the reminders it gave me last night.

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