Last December (December 6, my parents' 34th anniversary, in fact) Josh and I were in an accident on the 405.
We were on our way home after going to his parents' house to watch the USC/UCLA football game. We were in the far left 'fast' lane going about 60 when the car in front of us dove into the right lane. The reason? An old woman's tire had gone flat and she had stopped her car in the fast lane and not put on any emergency lights (or even her brake lights) to warn people. We couldn't swerve to the right because there was another car there, but Josh was able to get the car stopped since he always leaves plenty of space between our car and the car in front of us.
There were, what seemed like 2-3 seconds but were most likely a few milliseconds, where I remember hearing the squeal of brakes, looking into the mirror on the passenger's side at quickly approaching headlights and chanting, "Please don't hit us from behind...please don't hit us from behind."
I'm always nervous when we have to stop quickly in traffic (which is much more often than you might think on CA freeways). Josh gets frustrated because he thinks I'm worried he'll hit the car in front of us. In fact, my fear was always that someone else that was following a little more closely than he does, driving a little more quickly than he does, or paying a little less attention than he does would not react in time. For a good five years, we were lucky.
Not this time.
We were rear ended by a large SUV that had managed to slow down to about 45 mph by the time they slammed into us. Josh saw it coming and started pumping the brakes to get the car stopped again which was no small effort as our little Saturn was now stopping itself, the large SUV, the Nissan sedan that rear ended the SUV and the mid-sized car that rear ended the Nissan. He was still able to stop the whole pile of twisted metal before we hit the old lady's car which was great as she was out of car, standing between our car and hers, looking at her flat tire.
The Saturn was a little trooper and crushed up nicely around us but left both of us without a scratch. It's a bit surreal to stand on the shoulder of the freeway and listen to two highway patrolmen discussing how it's a miracle that there were no major injuries or fatalities while they look at the wreckage of the car you were just in.
Anyhow, I was finally able to snap a picture of it before the charity came to pick it up and I thought I'd post it here.
Farewell, little buddy. You did a great job taking us camping, taking us to the beach, and, most importantly, keeping us safe.