Well, it’s a sad announcement, but my car seems to officially be no more.
Yes – its only a car, but do consider that there is some truth to comments about guys and their cars. Not to mention that it was a good car, reliable, rare, sporty, and despite being nearly 20 years old, it was still rather cool looking (to me at least).
The unfortunate truth of the situation is that I was going through a major Townsville intersection on a Saturday morning (read: busy). The traffic heading in the same direction as me was very light, with only one white ute infront of me heading towards the same intersection. As I approached I saw that white ute (in front and to the left of me) slow.
“Look at this guy stopping for a green light” I said to my mum who was in the passenger seat. I had seen this plenty of other times before. Regardless, I slowed a little incase there was a dog or something on the road.
There may have been time for another comment in between, but the next few moments are a bit of a blur.
As I reached the intersection I shifted my attention from the ute and looked right, and saw the ambulance bearing down on me.
The next few things all happened at the same time. My mum yelled out something, I hit the brakes, and I may have started to swerve based on the position of the car, but I cannot be sure. We both saw the side of the bonet crumple as the ambulance hit. My head hit the side window sill and mum was thrown forward but caught by the seat belt.
[Here is an animation of what happened]
In the aftermath we found out that there was thankfully no patient in the ambulance. We only received minor injuries – bruising and pulled muscles it seems. The ambulance was fitted with air bags but they did not deploy.
It took nearly an hour for the police to arrive at the scene. The driver and passenger were taken away by another ambulance, but seemed uninjured except for some bruising. Im not sure if they gave statements to the police but I assume they did. The driver of the ute gave a witness account also.
Long story short, the insurance company (Suncorp) claims I am at fault because according to the road rules, drivers need to give way to emergency vehicles in all situations. This seems to include events where the ambulance could not be seen until it is too late. The police said it could be 3 months before they come back with a ruling.
I spoke to a friend who is a traffic police officer, and he said I should not be charged because the onus is on the driver of the ambulance to move safely through the intersection, especially when they are running a red light. The insurance company does not seem to care about this, they are just reading the Queensland road rules to determine this ruling, especially when it means they want me to pay the excess.
I spoke with a lawyer and they told me that I probably have grounds for argument, but it is not worth persuing because of the cost of legal fees.
I also spoke with the local insurance guys and they said that because the car looks like it was too damaged, they are going to write it off. Yes, you read it right. It looks like it, so why bother getting a mechanic to actually check it? I asked for an assessment report and there was none.
He then went on to tell me that they are getting an independent assessor to determine its value. I am dubious that they will come up with anything fair when he tried to dangle the $6-$8k price infont of me, and I baulked. 5 minutes of searching Australian (and specifically queensland) car sale sites determined that yes, a bog standard automatic 1.8 litre 180sx may go a low as $7k. But mine was a modified 180sx, including front end conversion to a Sil80, a 2 litre engine which had only seen 80,000 kms at the time of the accident, after market front bumper bar, large front mounted intercooler, after market 17″ mags with fairly new rubber, manual conversion, new shocks, after market stereo, and more.
Right now I am waiting for that argument to get going properly…
BTW – The pic is just photoshopped – courtesy of my mum. We are both unscathed (except for some brusing!)