Twenty years ago, next month, I purchased my little red Nissan Altima…partially for the color and because it had both a CD and tape player in it.  It has served me well for all these years and I had thought of replacing it this year but then the pandemic happened and I had some home repairs after a small flood so decided to put it off.  It has gotten me to Kansas and California, and been a conduit for many guests I’ve hosted. We have taken many trips to Colo. Springs and Boulder, as well as many times to Berthoud to visit my Dad’s. Yet it only has 134,600 miles on it. It has life left in it!

On August 2 I went to the grocery store and just as I was one block from home, stopped at a sign to cross a busy street, I felt a loud BAM from the back.  I had been rear-ended!  A young man emerged and apologized, exclaiming he was looking away and not paying attention.  He did inquire if I was alright, and I was except for being shaken up. We surveyed the damage which was worse than I thought, including damage to the bumper and the trunk was up a little and part of trim had fallen on the ground. His vehicle,a large GMC, was fine.  He gave me his ID to take a photo of and emailed me his insurance card.  I didn’t think to call the police at the time. 

When I got home, I called the insurance company and we realized his insurance had expired the end of June. Meanwhile he had emailed me and told me he let it lapse due to having to have a down payment on his new place.  Luckily, I had uninsured motorist insurance and comprehensive insurance still on my old vehicle.   I made an appointment to have the damage examined, and assumed it could be fixed. Well that proved to be somewhat false.  The estimate was $3900 which was more than the value of my car so they wanted to salvage it.  Insurance paid me its value, minus the $500 deductible I had which was enough for the down payment on a new car.  (Note: I found out that a $100 deductible is only about $7 difference per month).

‘Little red’ was and is still drive-able and except for minor dings for being that old, the inside is in good shape, it has decent tires and battery not that old and has been pretty well cared for.  I considered selling it but found out being salvaged would not allow someone to get registration and insurance on it. So it was sadly towed away even though it was running and fine other than the rear damage.  I have been grieving its demise. Also, sad that our country is such a throw-away society, and that we can’t make stronger steel bumpers to withstand impact at 25 mph.   Recently my printer, phone, and blue ray also had to be replaced.  This is a lot at once financially on a pension and I sure hope many parts can be reused!

Therefore, after confirmation from my usual car repair shop, I began the search for a new car.   Since I am older, I wanted a lower payment but something reliable which could possibly last me the rest of my life.  I found out with covid, that there are less cars in stock, especially used ones, and they don’t even know when the 2021 ones will be out. But I found one that worked with a deal to add tinted windows to it for free and I am getting some fun seat colors to give it more pizzazz. The salesman was nice and even bought one of my fun masks.

Friday my old car was towed away, and Saturday I picked up my new 2020 Nissan Altima (it will be my third Altima) and I will have to learn all the new features and adjust to the newness. They don’t make them with CD players anymore!  That was annoying and I inquired about having one installed without luck.  After an accident, I am a bit squeamish about driving a new car especially when everyone seems to be driving too fast and not paying attention. This old dog has to learn some new tricks this year…all these new gadgets and computerized things!  I’ll be calling my new car ‘Silver Streak’ not that I usually name them, but feeling at my age, and its color, that is appropriate! I hope it will serve me as faithfully as my ‘little red’ did!

P.S. I heard of two others who got rear-ended around the same time as I did, and witnessed someone backing into a parked car when I was at UPS the other day mailing the deed to insurance.  People are driving nuts, too fast, and I urge everyone to slow down, watch out and don’t be distracted!  

One Comment

  1. Wow, what low mileage for a 20 year old car! However, I know you have used the outstanding public transit around Denver metro.

    I have been rearended nine times since returning to Colorado from Montana. Thank goodness I have always maintained a $100. comprehensive and collision deductible, so I wasn”t required to come up with too much money every time my former cars have gone to the body shop.

    Beem’s Body Shop owner David would say, “Oh no, it’s you again” whenever I would pull up with a car that had been hit again. I always responded, “David, I am your job security.”

    My most recent worst experience, when I told myself not to be judgmental, was a guy covered with piercings and tattoos and a torn off jean jacket he was wearing as a frayed vest, rearended my car with his International Scout truck. He had Indiana license plates.

    The roads were icy, so it was cold reporting. We exchanged driver license and insurance information. There was a local address on his insurance card.

    The next day when I phoned his insurance company, I learned his insurance had lapsed. He had an insurance card because the insurance company sent it to him when his policy was due for renewal.

    When I contacted the police to file an accident report, they were thrilled that I had a local address for him, as he had four outstanding arrest warrants. I was also able to inform the police where he worked (when he told me where he worked the day before, I had never heard of the place), which turned out to be a porn store.

    Maybe I wasn’t so judgmental after all! The police were able to arrest him at his work place.

    I had another nightmare rearend accident experience with a brand new car in Arkansas’ Ozark Mountains. That is another long story I will tell you about sometime.

    I’m looking forward to seeing you drive your new car soon. In the meantime, you can provide photos!

    My new car also doesn’t have a CD player. Therefore I purchased a portable one, so I can listen to books on tape while driving.

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