On The Scene of My First Auto Accident

Managing my first auto accident has been eye-opening. There are so many moving parts, literally, not to mention my own health and wellbeing after the accident.

You may recall what happened in my first story about managing my first auto accident. You can read about it right here.

The airbag exploded on my head, and I have a concussion. I thought I was healed and resumed ‘life,’ but then another bang to my head doing life caused the ‘dormant’ concussion to rear its ugly head, for realz. You see, concussions are never healed after one week or two; your brain gets jolted around and needs stillness, less stimulation, and no whacks to the head for a very long time. This, I didn’t know, and even a bump of mediocre impact brought my pain back. I was down for the count for more than a week, a slower healing process this time around.

On The Scene of My First Auto Accident

When a pizza delivery driver hit me, my two-month old 2015 Toyota Highlander spun into a near-complete 360 doughnut. The airbag exploded on my head, as I mentioned. The label of the airbag had burst into pieces and left stickies all over my curls and clothes. I thought my head was bleeding.

Dazed and hurt, my daughter was screaming my name. I knew I needed to ‘wake up’ and be strong for her. She is at that age where death is a new concept and to see me unconscious would have repercussions. I checked my limbs and wiggled my toes and fingers. Nothing broken. I was able to open the car door and walk around slowly in a fog.

The policeman arrived to assess the situation. Here’s how it unfolded:

  • He asked if we needed an ambulance, and I declined.
  • He asked for my license and insurance card, but laughed when I produced my registration and said, “That’s just Hollywood.”
  • He asked for our stories and looked at the cars’ positions and the respective damages to each. When he understood the situation, he cited the pizza delivery driver (not me).
  • He gave me paperwork to begin filling out. He asked me to find a towing company and to call my insurance company.

When you’re in a daze on the scene of an accident, and you have to think about which towing company to call and where to have your car towed, it’s a challenge. For me, I was mobile; I didn’t need to be carted off in an ambulance, but what happens to the people who do need emergency medical care after an auto collision?

Alan’s Collision Center In NE Philadelphia

I was on the phone with my insurance company, and the policeman came over to the car and asked me which towing service I wanted to use. I immediately thought of Glenn’s Towing in NE Philadelphia because that’s the towing company that Alan’s Collision Center in NE Philadelphia uses for vehicles in collision that need towing to its auto body repair business.

I had no idea. The policeman was supportive and said he would place a call to Sandy’s Towing, but it might be an hour because it’s a rainy Friday evening of a holiday weekend.

When the tow truck arrived, we had pulled all my gear out of my vehicle. I even remembered to empty the cool compartment between the front seats and grab my garage door opener and sunglasses.

The tow truck driver loaded my new car onto the flatbed. I wanted to cry, but I didn’t because moms can’t cry in front of their children even if they want to. When moms are hurt in an auto accident, that’s not even a time to cry. I never did shed any tears over this event, but maybe I should have.

I told the tow truck driver to take my car to Alan’s Collision Center in NE Philly. Of course, I was joking because I don’t live in Northeast Philadelphia.

So I called my friend who works in the collision repair industry and he said I should take it to the dealership where I bought the car since the vehicle was two-months old. That turned out to be a mistake, and I will explain why later.

Towing Companies And Auto Accidents

Turns out there is a vast network of tow trucks working behind the scenes of accidents and all of the sheriff’s office and collision repair centers know whom to call when someone is in need of a tow.
I asked my insurance company if they could get a tow truck, but they said no that would be my responsibility. Here’s what I totally forgot:

I have AAA!
I also have Toyota Roadside Service!

Because no one is thinking clearly in an accident and some are in shock as I was, people can’t think of the details they need on demand.

Here are tips for preparing for the event that you might need help in an auto accident:

  • In your glove box, put the name of a towing company.
  • Before you ever get in an auto accident, do the research on auto body repair businesses in your area. Find one that is local to you, expert in the vehicle you drive and I-CAR Gold trained.
  • Put the tow truck number in your glove box along with a collision company you have vetted in advance.
  • On the scene of an accident, take pictures of the damage to your vehicle.
  • Completely fill out all the contact information from the scene of the accident that the police officer gives you. This is important information for insurance purposes.
  • Find your AAA or other vehicle manufacturer roadside assistance card and call them to see what help they can give you on the scene.
  • Keep the number of your insurance agent handy. If it’s a weekend or evening there should be an emergency number for after-hours contact.
  • If you can’t reach your insurance agent then call the insurance company and get a temporary claim number. Carefully describe what happened during your accident. This goes on the record, and both insurance companies will want to hear the story several times.
  • If you truly want to understand what happens in an auto accident, then call the insurance company or speak with your agent. They are obligated to help you understand the process of what happens in an accident.

Few people really understand what happens in an auto accident until they have been in one.

On the scene of my first auto accident I learned a tremendous amount. I’m so fortunate, I can sit here and write about it, and I’m also fortunate to have a friend in Jim Pfau, General Manager of Alan’s Collision Center in NE Philadelphia who walked me through how to choose an auto body repair service when I had a concussion and couldn’t think straight.