I missed the deer, but I wish I could say I missed the ditch. In August of 2016, I had drove my little 1996 s10 Blazer from Arizona to Alabama, to visit some of my family I had never met before. My little Blazer and I had survived the whole ride and had been in Alabama for a little over a month when that deer came out of nowhere.
I was on my way to my grandparents’ house to spend the weekend with them, still getting used to driving in Alabama. For those who are familiar with driving in each state, there are some huge differences between driving in southern Arizona versus in northern Alabama. In southern Arizona, you can see things coming from a mile away. There aren’t too many hills or tree lines that block your view, aren’t awkward turnoffs to get to different housing areas, aren’t gas stations and little markets with their entrances right off the highways. Alabama has all of that. In Arizona, you can see the wildlife coming and can slow down or speed up to avoid it, but in Alabama, you don’t know that it is there until it is too late.
I was headed down highway 31, leaving Athens, Alabama, headed toward Decatur. I had my music up, enjoying whatever was playing at the time, my new little puppy in the passenger seat, when a deer came running out of the tree line on my right. The deer panicked once it had realized the mistake it had made, darted left then back right. When it had thrown itself back to the right, I was already swerving to avoid him on the left. When he swung back, I overcorrected myself and ended up flying off the road, hitting a ditch.
It reminded me of one of those moments when you are walking down the hall and end up face to face with someone. You try to get out of each other’s way but just end up unfortunately mirroring each other’s movements, blocking each other’s passage all the same. You usually then stop, laugh it off, and one of you allows the other to pass. Unfortunately, it’s a little more difficult to have such an exchange when you are going over 50 miles an hour on a highway and trying to communicate with a deer.
Once I hit the ditch, I’m happy that the air bags didn’t deploy, my little puppy was fine, and I walked away with only minor whiplash. However, at this point, I was across the country in Alabama and had just destroyed my only way of getting back home.
It wasn’t until I had a friend come, pick me up and tow my Blazer back, that I had remembered I had full coverage on my vehicle. Insurance was something that I paid for every month, thought and hoped I would never need, but ended up being what got me back home to Arizona. I didn’t think it was that important. I had always thought of myself as a pretty good driver, never having had any tickets or close call accidents. I knew you had to have at least liability insurance on your vehicle, but I am so grateful that I took the next step and went to full coverage. I learned that you never know what can happen. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
When the insurance company came, and picked up my little blazer, they totaled it out and after a $500 deductible, gave me the cash value of my little s10 Blazer. It was with this that I could pay a friend the gas money to come get me and bring me to Arizona. Once I was back home, I went and used the rest as a down payment for a nicer newer vehicle that is perhaps a little more dependable than my old 1996.
I was and still am super bummed that I totaled my first vehicle, but if it wasn’t for my choice in deciding to fully cover my vehicle, there is a good chance that’d I’d still be stuck in Alabama, not only trying to figure out how to get home, but how to afford a new ride. Insurance kept me covered and is an investment that I am so happy to have made. After this experience, I highly encourage everyone to invest in full coverage on their vehicles. You never know what can happen, but you can only try to prepare yourself for it.
In the end this experience is perhaps a blessing. I learned the importance in keeping myself and my belongings protected, and ended up with a nice down payment on a better vehicle for my drive back and forth to college. This experience is how I learned why insurance is important to me.
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