On Monday, I dropped both boys off at the local daycare (as they don't yet have spots on Monday at the daycare near work) and continued on my way to work. Was about 15 minutes into the drive when I entered the tunnel which takes us under part of the city. Was happily on my way in the left lane and made my way past a truck in the middle lane, which for once was moving slower than the left. I was doing about 5kms below the speed limit, not bad for the end of peak hour (was running half an hour later than usual that day). I felt relieved... I hate driving next to trucks.
Barely had I felt that, when I felt a very unwelcome hit to the rear drivers side of my car. Truck had changed lanes without leaving sufficient space (cameras in tunnel showed a clear lane behind me). I took my foot off the accelerator, but didn't brake, to give the truck room to stop. But he didn't slow, and being a heavy vehicle, kept pushing the rear end of my car until it was now sideways and heading into the middle lane. I was trying desperately at this point to straighten the car by counter steering to the left, not wanting to hit another car in the process.
(excuse the thumb in the shot - it was so bright I could barely see my phone screen)
I had now spun 270 degrees and my car had come to a standstill. But no time to feel relieved as the truck hit me yet again, on the front passenger side of my car, and shot my car into the 3rd and final lane where the right hand tunnel wall was looming incredibly fast. I had enough time to think, 'Oh this is not good,' and knew that I wanted to survive this, to see my boys grow up, and then I smacked into the concrete wall, bounced off, the truck was by now too far ahead to ram me again and all the other drivers were alert and had stopped. I was able to guide my car back to the left lane, hit the hazard lights, and breathe out, stunned that I'd survived it.
---I've since picked up the video footage from the tunnel operators... seriously the truck driver must have been so dopey. Either that or was trying not to leave a witness. Still can't believe he followed my car into the middle lane to hit me twice again. It took him quite a few seconds to actually hit his brakes after the first hit... reaction time of a snail. He really should not be driving heavy vehicles. I actually thought he didn't have a licence at all, because:
After I stopped a guy from the car behind me ran up to my window to see if I was alright. He then told me to stay in my car and ran up the tunnel about 20 metres ahead where the truck had finally stopped, to bring the driver back. I went back to the guy's car and got his partner's details, as she had seen the accident and was happy to act as my witness for the police report. First thing the driver says to me was, 'Do you know what happened?' 'Er, yes, you hit my car!' 'Oh no, I don't think so,' he replies!
'I felt it, and I've got a witness who says you did,' I told him. He just kept repeating the same question. The Incident Response truck had arrived by now - it's job is to push broken cars out of the tunnel so traffic can continue, as there's no hard shoulder. He got me to move my car, which was actually still able to be driven, in front of the truck who had stopped in the middle lane, so that the tunnel had two clear lanes for the now banked up traffic. I then tried to get the driver's licence details again, but he was still just asking the same question over and over, so I just asked for his licence over and over until he got pissed off with that and started getting aggressive. The IR guy told him we both had to swap details so we could get out of the tunnel and out of danger. Lucky for that, as I was at the point where I felt he was dangerous and was considering taking a photo of the truck's licence plate and driving off.
So details swapped, I drove my car very slowly out of the tunnel and thankfully the truck didn't go after me again. I realised that some of my lights were smashed and hope the indicators were still working, and that I could hear one of my wheels rubbing as it went round. By this point I was closer to work than home, about 20 mins from work, so I drove very slowly (about 10kms below speed limit so not dangerously slowly) in the left lane and parked my car at daycare where I knew a tow truck would be able to get in easily (work's parking is underground).
My only injuries after all that were a corked calf muscle and massive bruise on my left leg, smaller bruises under the seat belt buckle on my left thigh, left elbow, and a bump on my head on the right. The next day my neck muscles were very stiff and sore but eased up within a few days. Really amazing and I am so lucky to still be here writing this.
It's now two weeks since the accident. I took the train and bus to work for the rest of that week (kids thought it was a big adventure!) and picked up my hire car on Saturday, so have faced the tunnel now 5 times. I'm not comfortable driving, but I guess that will ease up with time. Took over a week to quote on my car, but it scraped in under the write off amount by $1500, so will be repaired and I'll have it back in about 3 weeks time.