Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Guard Rail: 1, Kid Dynamite: 0

A question I will delve deeper into later this week is the one: "Why blog?"  But hey, I don't want to get too existential or too far ahead of myself.  One of the biggest benefits of this blog has been that I get to soak up the knowledge of my readers, who, by definition, have more experience than I do.  Although I consider myself a blogging jack-of-all-trades: perhaps the only guy out there who can write about his dog's anal glands, giant tomato hornworms, ETF mechanics, high frequency trading, and a conversation with Treasury, I need my readers' help, and I ask you for it now! Specifically, if you're involved with auto insurance or have ever filed a claim with your auto insurance company for an accident where no one else was involved (ie, you skidded off the road into a tree), then this one is for you.

Last night, my soccer team had our playoffs in an adjoining town.  Of course, up here, "adjoining town" means a 20 minute drive, and last night the roads were about as bad as I've ever seen them, even on the highway.  Before our semi-finals loss, I texted my wife: "Roads are terrible."  And after the game, I urged my teammates, "Guys - PLEASE drive safely - the roads are AWFUL."  Somehow, still, I managed to be the one spinning out and crashing my car on the way home.  Crash may be an overstatement - I was going about 35 mph on a road that's normally 65mph, but had signs for "45MPH Winter Conditions."  The road was flat out awful, and I was in the left hand lane, a mile before my left hand exit.  The right hand lane looked better, but I didn't want to switch, as I though the toughest part was the strip of snow and slush between the two lanes, where I would be most likely to lose control.  I'm driving the official NH State Car, by the way - Subaru Forester, 2010, all wheel drive.

Anyway, I'm driving along, thinking "Don't crash the car," a mile from the exit, when all of a sudden: FUCK.  It's over.  I'm sliding diagonally toward the right late, and I have no chance.  STOPPPPP - but no - it's not stopping. I'm sliding on black ice/slush, and the guard rail will be mine.  I somehow hit the guardrail with my front right corner, and then, quickly, my right rear corner.  This was my first accident ever!  I put it in park, hit the hazards, and noticed a car behind me instantly coming to a stop. I got out to assess the damage, and the guys behind me came running up to make sure I was ok, explaining that they'd just done a triple 360 in front of an 18 wheeler up the road.  I assured them I was ok, and continued home - the car was still drivable, with damage to both the front and rear right bumpers, front headlight, and rear quarter panel.

Today, I took it to a body shop and got an estimate - $4k - while my wife and I debated if we should eat the cost or submit a claim ($500 deductible  + potential rate hikes).  We didn't want to submit a claim and have our rates go up - or have a claim like this make any future serious claim (ie, where someone else is injured) cost us much more.  Eventually, I got a hold of my account manager who told me that in an accident like this (we were speaking HYPOTHETICALLY, of course), as long as they don't have to pay out damages for property or medical bills to someone else, my rates don't change.  I pestered him with questions: "but you will have to pay for my property."  "Yes."  "And I won't lose my safe driver discount or preferred rate, or be assessed a surcharge?"  "No, not in an accident like this where no one else was involved."

I got him to put that in writing, which is obviously not a legal doc, but he wrote:

"If your accident is not at fault and we are not paying out for damages to someone else’s property or injuries, generally there are no impact on the rates.

If you are at fault in an accident and we have to pay for injuries or damages to property, then you may experience a potential loss of safe drivers discounts, loss of preferred ratings and potentially a surcharge to your policy."

Now, obviously, a guy like myself who can read and comprehend immediately worried "what about if it's NOT a "no-fault" accident and they don't pay out damages to someone else?  That could be the description of this accident - I have no idea - I mean, I was going well below the posted speed limit, but if it's not my fault, whose fault is it?  That's not really covered in his email, but the email isn't a policy statement or legal doc anyway, so I proceeded and filed a claim.  I am hoping that I can get them to label this no fault based on the weather conditions, my speed, and my record (perfect!), but that's where I ASK THE AUDIENCE. (Basically, I just want to make sure that my account manager is correct when he says that my rates won't go up based on this event.)

My account manager also told me that if I filed a claim for this, it wouldn't effect any future claims in terms of making their impact on my policy cost more severe.   The first thing I don't understand is, obviously, if I skid off the road once a month, my insurance company isn't going to just eat the cost every time without raising my rates - so how does that jive with what my guy told me?

My wife thinks that this story will end with them jacking up my rates at renewal time, and me going into a rage (and she's right, I will, if that happens).  What say ye, my readers who have experience in this area?

note:  I'm pretty much looking specifically for those of you who have filed auto insurance claims in similar circumstances: ones where the damage was covered by collision insurance, and where there was not another car involved.  I can't wait to hear your stories in the comments - I hope I'm not about to get screwed (ie, that I won't see my rates increase when my policy comes up for renewal)...



Anonymous said...

File the claim. Thats 3500. I dont think they will jack up your insurance if its a first time event and you dont do it again. They've never jacked up mind for small claims. If they do then leave. But even if they jack you up 10% (hypothetically) its a hell of a lot cheaper then eating the 3500.

Anonymous said...

I rolled my car June 07 in Mass and totaled it. I fell asleep while driving, and no one else was involved. Massachusetts has a highly regulated car insurance industry (or at least did at the time--it has opened up a bit) which is why most of the big players don't write policies there. Because it was a single car accident, i was automatically 100% at fault (Mass. law). I lost all my safe driver discounts and step points, so my insurance doubled when it came up for renewal from $800 to $1600. I'm still paying the higher rate because it stays on your record for six years here. They have a central state agency that does all of the accident reporting and administers the point system, as well as setting insurance rates (at least pre-2008). In my case i didn't have a choice as the car was totaled. I remember when i filed the claim, they did ask if it was weather related, so there might have been an out there, but otherwise i was told all single car accidents are at fault accidents. However, as NH is like the land law forgot, things might be significantly different up there, so it might be up to the insurance company.

Anonymous said...

If it was me I'd file the claim.

Sounds like you covered about every base that you could think of, and if not, well you know what they say "It won't matter in a hundred years".

Mbdore said...

Last summer I got caught in a flash flood in central Illinois. Engine stalled, and i was literally about to open my car door (which was difficult enough with rising water putting pressure on it) and swim to safety in full suit and tie, when the engine finally turned over. At the time I had been on with 911, seeing if they could send any kind of emergency vehicle and was pretty damn embarrassed.

At any rate, I got home okay, but the next morning, a bevy of lights made my dash look like a Christmas tree, so I brought the car to a local mechanic, who informed me that one of the pistons in my engine block had actually gotten bent out of alignment by the pressure of the water rushing in.

The bill came to $6k. I filed with my insurance company (who sent a claims inspector out of course), and they allowed it to be covered under my collision. Over a year later and my rates have remained exactly the same.

Anonymous said...


"no-fault" in the context of car insurance does not mean what you seem to think it means - - it's not concerned with how fast you were going, your driving record, etc.

for your edification,do a google search to understand what "no-fault" means. in this case, it's irrelevant anyway, i believe.

your agent should be a guide to what underwriting (which will set your next rate) will do. but it sounds like your agent doesn't know what he's talking about. and underwriting does not speak to customers.

your insurance company will know that icy conditions occurred. so, as we commonly speak, they will know that you were not "at fault."
(even if you were - - let's say you were going 90- - , since it was icy and you have a clean record, you'd probably be fine rate-wise.)

since it's your 1st accident, i suspect that your rates will not go up.

my thought: you did the right thing by filing the claim.

i enjoy your blog. keep up the great work.


Unknown said...

assuming no police report and the conditions can be verified, underwriting will not hike your rates for this. assuming someone has a shitty day and they do still hike them at renewal, its going to be a hell of a lot cheaper than 3500$.. even if they hiked your rates for 10 years(you'll drop the accident in 7, max) it might raise you a total of 2000$.. you did the right thing. keep up the good work, im especially impressed with your metal mania debunking.. which is the reason i got introduced to your blog in the first place. i have a tendency to call maniacal conspiracy theorists and monday morning quarterbacks "douchebags" then fervently hunt for verification to salt the wounds.

Kid Dynamite said...

thanks for the comments so far, everyone.

@anon aksales: can you tell me what position of experience you are speaking from? You're right - I positively do not understand what "no fault" means in this sense - I had a lot of trouble trying to figure it out on Google (of course that was the first thing I did) - because most of the results speak to multi-car accidents.

I'm very surprised to hear you say that if it was icy and I was going 90 then the result would be the same - that makes no sense to me.

A number of people have mentioned that I'd be ok (rate-wise) since this was my first incident. This relates to why my wife said "don't file this one" - because she was thinking that if something more severe happened she wanted THAT to be my fist incident... anyone have thoughts on that line of reasoning? The account manager said that this wouldn't effect future accidents... but like aksales said in his comment, I tend to not want to trust what he tells me (not that I think he's trying to cheat me or anything, he just isn't really held to what he tells me... if he's wrong, and I've filed, it's too late already - even if I go to another ins company, it's already on my record)

does anyone have an opinion on the effect of filling the accident report on the eventual resale value of my car - since it will get onto the Carfax report? It's not a major concern of mine at all, but one that another friend had voiced.

Wynngolfhatguy said...

I would agree with what others have stated.

In 2003, my wife backed into a wall with our new car. It caused about $3500 in damage. We turned it in to insurance due to the fact the car was literally only 4 months old. There was no change in our rate.

That said, your agent has NO IDEA what underwriting will do. He should say that it's UNLIKELY that it will effect your rate. There is no way he can know for sure.

I believe your wife is correct. Certainly having additional items on your claim list won't help your cause in keeping rates low if another accident arises. That said, I'd still make the claim knowing that another accident is likely remote. (If you were a chronic traffic offender or had multiple claims already, you'd likely be best off paying out of pocket)

Keep in mind, most accidents are subrogated anyway despite the fact that it may be one person's "fault".

Hope this helps!


Krick said...

I don't know what state you live in, but in NJ, if your insurance company finds out about your accident, even if you don't report it, they put it on your record and it counts against you and will probably affect your rates. Most companies have a boolean "zero incidents in X years" discount factor in their rate calculations, where X varies from company to company, usually X=5. As a consequence, you should NEVER call your agent and ask what-if questions about an accident.

I was rear-ended at a stop light by a young girl in a new Jetta several years ago. My car, a 2001 Ford Focus was still drivable, but the ass-end was crushed in pretty bad. I got insurance information from the girl via the police officer that showed up on the scene and I filed a claim directly with her company, never involving my insurance company at all. Her company just asked for a copy of the police report and once they got it, they sent out a claims adjuster who authorized the repairs through a nearby Ford dealer. I think the total damage was round $4K. I didn't pay a cent, and my insurance was not affected at all.

Anonymous said...


i was trying to keep it simple :-)

1) i'm speaking from the perspective of someone who understands how insurance companies operate - - (a)i used to sell life insurance, (b) i sell them software, so i deal with their contracts dept.,and (c) i've had my fair share of accidents

but i'm not a lawyer, if that's what you were asking

2) there's a difference between (a) no-fault, (b) at fault and (c) what you and i would mean by "it was your fault"

re: (a)for your edification only, look here:'No-fault'_states

you're right - - no-fault involves 2 vehicles. so it doesn't apply in your case. that's why it's for your edification only. btw, NH does not have no fault, according to those links

(b)the insurance company has no way of knowing whether your driving caused the accident or the icy conditions did. i believe that they will assume that given all the other accidents due to ice, the ice caused it, not you .(also because you have a clean history)
perhaps, going 90 was a bad example because the damage would have been greater. my point was that even if you were speeding, the fact that there were icy conditions would override the fact that you were speeding.

(c) the common sense of " it was/wasn't my fault" is not an insurance concept, like (a) and (b) above. as such, it's irrelevant to whether they should/will raise your rates.

3) insurance laws and regulations vary tremendously by state. unless someone was an insurance lawyer in that state, they wouldn't know for sure how fault would be assigned in that state.

4)insurance company policies within each state vary. so it's hard to predict what will happen. if you have a cut-rate insurance company, you'll have a greater chance of an increase than with a traditional insurance company.

5)an agent should not be writing side letters to you. he can probably get into a lot of trouble. i doubt that they are legally binding anyway. but it's a sign of an immature agent and would make me discount anything else he i said, a good agent should answer the question of whether your rates will increase based on the many other similar cases he's seen over the years.

6) what your agent wrote was so vague that it's meaningless anyway

7)i don't have a good sense for whether your rates will go up if you have a 2nd accident. but that's not a reason to not file this one. hopefully, you may never have a 2nd.

please let all of us know what happens to your rate upon renewal.


Anonymous said...

I work in auto insurance but not in claims, so I don't make these determinations (and the rules will differ from company to company). I'd expect this to be an at-fault accident and they are paying for damages to your property. A not-at-fault accident is typically an accident that is the fault of another driver.

This is a different subject than "no fault insurance" (also called "personal injury protection"), which was an attempt in some states to keep smaller auto accidents out of the tort system. I don't believe NH has anything like this.

If you've been with your company for a long time, they may have an Accident Forgiveness loyalty program that will keep this from affecting your premium. Otherwise, if this is at-fault I'd expect your rates will be 10-40% higher for the next 3-5 years until this accident becomes too old to use. If you have another accident that is your fault, your rates will increase further, but once an accident causes over ~$1000 of damage or injury, the severity of the accident doesn't typically affect how much it causes your premium to increase.

If you get a quote with another insurance company, they'll eventually be aware of this accident and use it in pricing your policy. Companies vary widely in how much impact it will have on your premium (and the impact of all of your other characteristics).

There are a number of state departments of insurance that have rate and rule filings of companies online if you want to look further. Progressive has a particularly clear set of rules they list for determining at-fault vs. not-at-fault, but it may take some digging to find them.

If you're purchasing Comp/Collision coverage with the intent of only using it for a total or near-total loss, you may want to check how much a higher deductible ($1000, $2500) would reduce your premium.

John Hartness said...

At the end of the day all that will decide whether or not you get jacked is what the company's balance sheet looks like at the end of the quarter. You SHOULDN'T get dinged. You probably won't get dinged. But as most of your blog is focused on nowadays, it's all about the money. If you've been a customer for a long time and have multiple policies with them, you have more leverage.

Daniel said...

I owned an independent insurance agency in California for 10 years. Mercury, Hartford, Aetna etc. A "no fault" state means responsibility is not used in determining who pays what unless bodily injury is a certain limit. California is NOT a no fault state. Doesn't matter what NH is. Your agent is an idiot. He has no right sending you in writing what he sent you. Plus, it's false. The agent, unless he is a huge producer has no play in whether or not your rate is going to go up, and even then, in todays world, highly doubtful. When I was an agent, 20 years ago, you could get certain things worked, not so much today.

The accident is your fault by definition of industry underwriting guidelines. It's called a "solo, loss of control accident." And if not for the extenuating circumstances of the weather, most underwriters assume, at night, those accidents are the result of alcohol use. This matters in the short term only if you are going to change insurance companies. To a new underwriter, you now have a chargeable, at fault accident and they are likely going to "rate" for that accident. Whether that final rate is higher than your existing rate with your existing company, who knows. Is your existing insurance company going to "rate" you for this accident? Nobody can answer that except for someone in the insurance company. Very UNLIKELY the agent. Let me give you the industry perspective. Companies never wnat claims, they never want to hear from you. but if they do they much prefer unforseen, catastrophic events. They are not maintenance policies that they are selling and they do not like to be nickled and dimed. A $500 collision deductible is probably average now. I carry $1000 on my cars but they are higher value than a Subaru. $500 is fine. $4000 of damage is significant. That is what your insurance is for. You are eating $500, not trivial. This was not a trivial event or resulting damage. Make the claim. It is very, very unlikely that the math works out that over the next three years the increase in premium equals the $3500 you would pay to fix your car.

And don't be mad if they raise your rate. The accident was your fault, you were driving too fast. Even though you were driving less than the speed limit and less than suggested, you still lost control of your vehicle and plowed into a guardrail. Maybe you should have been going 15 mph, regardless, the speed you were going was too fast for the conditions else you wouldn't have lost control of your car. Lesson learned, move on.

Anonymous said...

Im an attorney and if I got something like what you got in writing from your agent, I wouldnt hesitate to file a claim.

Of course, the rates could still rise (as he said they generally do not, meaning they could). Still, for $3500 I absolutely would roll the dice given the due dilligence you have done thusfar.

Kid Dynamite said...

thanks to everyone for the continued feedback.

one more point of clarification - when I say "my agent" I mean "my account rep at the insurance company" - he works for my insurance company, not for some third party insurance broker or reseller. Of course, he is not an underwriter, so this doesn't really mean he's right, although he is the guy who tells me what the rate is given X,Y,Z criteria. Ie, I also have home insurance with them. I can email him and say "if I increase my deductible to $2500 what will happen to my rate?" or "If I line my chimney, what will happen to my rate"? (answer: nothing!!! aiyahhh!)

for this reason, I believe him when I ask him what will happen to my auto rate based on a claim like this. He is the guy who should know - no?? He just punches it into the model and sees what comes out. ???

Daniel said...

Yes, he can tell you what your rate will be given what you tell him, ie I want to change my deductible to $2500 on my homeowners policy. But I very much doubt he has the decision making authority to DECIDE whether or not your rate changes BECAUSE of this accident. He should be able to tell you what your new premium will be IF the company decides to charge you for the accident. Thats the difference.

Transor Z said...


Daniel's comment is money on this one. As he said, by definition you were going too fast for weather conditions, as unfair and circular as that line of reasoning may seem.

Anonymous said...

KD, at a minimum, the conversation you had with the account rep is already documented on your record. They document all calls in cases like this. Some agents/companies/states will raise your rates based on the call. Plus you have to remember that the body shop is supposed to turn in a report to the accident database. That is how/why the CarFax system works.

In hindsight, the only way to be assured this would not cause your rates to rise would be to NOT have called.

At this point, I would vote to file the claim. . .

Unknown said...

If you have never been in an accident definitely file the claim. I believe actuarial tables assume in accident every X number of years anyway and adjust accordingly.

Knowing the exact date of the accident is critical as they will look at the weather report for that day and recognize the conditions. In MN you are 5% at fault just for driving but as my sister has racked up 3 no-fault collusions in the past 5 years, she has no received one premium hike to her policy.

Kid Dynamite said...

TZ - yes - I absolutely understand that logic. However, regardless of "fault" or not, I am still under the impression that my premium may not be raised (hopefully will not). I was even told by someone in the business of a case where a driver hit black ice and slid into another car, and STILL didn't have to pay the damages from his insurance - it was found to be no-fault.

Anon 10:40 am - re: carfax - so if I didn't file a claim, the repair shop would submit it to CarFax anyway? or they are supposed to? how often do they if there's no insurance involved?

What I find interesting is how the insurance rate is set: it's certainly based on an assessment of my risk, right? Thus, if I have an accident, it should increase my risk-weighting even if I don't file a claim, right? And yet, somehow, not quite as much as if i HAD filed a claim. Furthermore, if this is true, then am I legally required to inform my insurance company if I have an accident even if I don't submit a claim? Seems like I'm not, but if they'd raise my rates based on an accident with no claim, then they'd want me to be required to...

long story short - I'm not at all worried about rate increases with no claim (which is moot, because i am filing a claim). here in NH, land of Live Free or Die, i'd take that one to the high court based on the hypothetical conversation that I had with my agent. You lawyers can weigh in, but there's no f'n way they're raising my rates based on hypothetical questions if I don't file a claim and don't notify them of an accident.

Daniel said...

Clarification: there are "no fault" insurance states, which means that the law of the state means that regardless of whoose fault a car accident is, each persons insurance company pays the damage for that individual. The point being to relieve the tort system. Unless there is a set limit of bodily injury that is broached, a person can't bring suit against the other driver. This is completely separate from determining fault in an accident.

@transor Z: Who is responsible for KD's accident? KD? The ice? The curvy road? Because American society is completely bereft of personal responsibility, it must be somebody's or something's fault, just not KD's, right?

Kid Dynamite said...

Daniel, TZ - as you both know, KD's World here is the bastion of taking responsibility for your actions. That's why, despite the fact that conditions were shitty, I fully understand TZ's statement: "Daniel's comment is money on this one. As he said, by definition you were going too fast for weather conditions, as unfair and circular as that line of reasoning may seem. ")

it doesn't even seem unfair or circular. It seems normal. I would say that i agree with it, but I don't want to put anything like that in writing just in case it comes back to bite me in the ass with the insurance company - 6 sigmas, I know, but...."Hey - you admitted on your blog that it was your fault !!!" can't be too careful with you lawyer folk...

There was a situation a few weeks ago here in NH where I heard that 150 cars spun off of I93 in the same spot... to me, that's the kind of thing where you could say that it's someone else's fault - that the state could have closed the road, that it was unfit to drive on. Of course, you'd need to know that these people were not speeding, that they were traveling at a reduced speed, etc. And yes, I know that no matter how slow they were going, they could have been going slower, but I think there is a line where if EVERYONE is crashing, it's the road's fault.

that's not applicable in my case here, though, I'm not saying that. Although I'm quite sure there were lots of spinouts on this night, I don't think that 75% of the people on the road crashed....

Anonymous said...

Other consideration is if you have a 2nd claim which MUST be filed, now you have 2 - anecdotally have heard many ins cos will not do anything for 1 but will drop or jackup rates for 2. So you have a decision tree here....

Kid Dynamite said...

anon - yes - that was definitely in the decision tree. My rep keeps telling me that an accident like this won't have effect on future accident claims effect on premiums.

intuitively, that's impossible, as they obviously won't let me crash my car into the guard rail every month - they will obviously account for it at some point.

SirFWALGMan said...

In MA we automagically get a fee assessed per accident I.E. Points on our records no matter what. So I would be concerned if I was you. Not sure what NH is like... The cost though might be worth it.. like I think 50 bucks a point for 6 years.. still less than 4k... again I am not an agent

Kid Dynamite said...

sirFWALGman -

page 77 starts with the points system. i see nothing about accidents of my nature.

In NH, you don't even need to have insurance to drive!

Transor Z said...

@KD, Daniel:

Sorry, quick hit-and-run post earlier. I meant to say that I agreed 100% with Daniel's recitation of the general liability rule in these incidents, not even remotely to suggest there was anything wrong with Daniel's reasoning. That's what I meant by the comment being "money."

Insurance liability/tort law systems are set up to answer the question "Who should pay?" not to get into metaphysical questions of ultimate personal responsibility. I think it's all KD's fault for not playing a real man's sport like hockey or rugby. But for his soccer wussiness, this incident never would have happened.

Anonymous said...

May I be harsh KD? You were at fault. Here's why, and what to do now. If the road is slick you need to slow down, a lot. If you still slide you need to know what to do RIGHT AT THAT INSTANT. Controlling a car in a skid is a skill which involves not looking at the guard rail as you slide into it. You need to look where you want the car to go, and your hands will steer you there. It is like magic. Did you look at the offending guard rail as your car was sliding KD? Here's what to do. This spring you make an appointment with the SkipBarber Driving School at Lime Rock Park in CT. Mrs. KD should also take a spot. Take a course in Performance driving. It costs about <1G per person. There you will learn how to recover properly from a slide, brake at the limit, and seriously flog a car outside your comfort zone. Afterwards you will be a better driver, just like me. After I took the course my Miata 'got' much more stable, I could drive much faster around turns, and most of all drove so much f'ing slower in poor conditions and visibility. Like an invisible hand slows the car down

You were at fault. Fix it.

(BTW, I'm the same guy with the butterfly chasing, oopsie-handed four year old nephew)

Kid Dynamite said...

sure Anon - you can be harsh. I think my fault lies (attn insurance company - this is not an admission of guilt!) in the fact that despite the fact that I was traveling at a reduced speed, it was, by definition, too fast. I don't think the fault was that I haven't taken a driving course. I'm not sure that would have helped in these conditions, although I'm sure it couldn't have hurt.

I can't tell you if I was looking at the guard rail. I don't think I was. I actually didn't think I was going to smack it until I did. I thought "this skid will end soon, I will make it out of this" and yet it didn't...

Anonymous said...

One thing I learned KD, while our high powered RX7 was skidding around the wet skid pad, was never stop correcting. Stay in control of the car, and focus your eyes on the spot you want to get to. It doesn't sound like you were actively driving the car, but were a passenger. This needs to be reprogrammed. Even if you weren't looking at the guardrail, you need to pick a safe spot to drive to.

Trust me, driving school is really worth the money. Some insurance cos even will give you a discounted rate. They know that learning how to drive at the limit makes you safer. And you will learn just how high performing your lowly average car truly is. You should hear my nephew squeel as I slide the Civic around turns.

Kid Dynamite said...

I don't know what to tell you, Anon. This is my first accident like this, ever, so it's definitely POSSIBLE that a professional like yourself could have driven his way out of it, but I tend to doubt it. I think the best way would have been to avoid the skid in the first place!

I was turning into the skid (wheel left as I drifted right and had my front end turning right, and hitting the breaks. I have all wheel drive and ABS, and it felt like I was going over super small tight speed bumps - that was the breaks pulsing on their own (ABS), or I may be imagining that and it was just the ridged shoulder of the road that I was feeling. I don't think so though - I think I felt the ABS hammering away.

I guess I must have succeeded in correcting the car's direction at some point, because the front right is where it hit - but not the hood...

Anonymous said...

I'm no pro driver KD. But it sounds like indeed the ABS was working away. The problem was that your left steering input combined with braking force meant that the grip of the tire was exceeded. Grip is a three vector phenomenon; add the sideways forces to the braking and accelation forces, and if the sum is greater than the tire can take, you will plow forward in you front wheel drive car. Is that what happened? If you had lifted off the brake or steered a little less you might have regained grip. If you just hit the brakes really hard when the skid started, the car's mass had no chance to move forward and increase the compression of the front tires(the third vector). Again, more weight on the front end means more total available grip. The idea is to smoothly brake,even in a panic, if you are going to brake at all, so the mass of the car gets on the front end before the calipers really start grabbing the discs.

My point? You can learn all this stuff in a day. It's really fun; Endorphinetown compares favorably to the gamblers high. Mrs KD will have fun too. It looks like you'll have to drive in more poor conditions if you stay in NH, and confidence and skill are not far away.

Anonymous said...

File the claim. Get your ride repaired. And move the hell out of NH to LV already.


Kid Dynamite said...

anon - it's an all wheel drive car, but other than that, what you described is probably what happened... I can't be positive. I think I drifted first, hit the breaks, which caused me to turn (wrong way), which then led to me turning into it (left), to no avail...

Anonymous said...

If I can share one last bit, pull your feet away from the brake and gas pedals if this happens to you again. You can easily start training your eyes to pick a spot to drive to all the time. Your hands will steer for you, using your self righting reflex. Truly magical.

If I was wowed by one lesson in the course I took, it was that the driver drives his eyes. Once you do this, your reactions become lightning fast. I even catch my conscious mind observing the actions of my hands. Formula 1 drivers have only average reaction times! But they know where to aim and focus their eyes.

Now back to work.

EconomicDisconnect said...

Sorry about the accident KD! Contrary to what may be written here, even equipped with an AWD vehicle, New England roads can have bad spots were recovery can be near impossible should a spin occur. As long as you are ok that is all that matters.

Bigger accident KD's or the patriots???

Kid Dynamite said...

yeah GYC - i didn't want to belabor the debate, but I don't think there was any recovering from that... i may be wrong though.

Pats were a disaster. I watched every minute from the Aria sportsbook..

Anonymous said...

This is silly, submit the claim -you paid for it! If the rates go up then shop it and move on. It will take a really big rate change to cover 4k.

If you pay for a service and are afraid to use it then there is a mismatch. Either you don't need the service, in which case raise your deductible so the insurance is for catastrophe's only and there is no question about submitting a claim, or change providers to one you trust.