On October 27th, 2007: I was on the way home from work, coming along a familiar route and exiting the interstate. It was 11:45pm, very dark and cloudy. I was coming off a clover-style exit ramp, in a left sweeping turn. Suddenly I caught the reflection of taillights up ahead of me. I swerved hard left instinctively, but didn't have much room to work with, as there was a concrete lane divider just a couple feet over. I corrected back to the right, but the tail wagged left and hit the concrete lane divider with the left rear tire, which shot me off spinning into the guardrail on the right side of the road.
The taillight reflectors I saw last minute? Those belonged to an old heap that used to be a late 80's dark blue Chrysler New Yorker that had broken down in the middle of the road and the owner had not managed to pull off completely, so it was still in street. And to top off his brilliance, he didn't turn on any hazard lights. That dark blue car had no lights on and nobody around to warn anyone that it was still in the roadway, there was no overhead lighting and it was a very dark and overcast night. The police arrived, and were amazed that I hadn't in fact hit it. They did not cite me for the accident, they thought it was an accident waiting to happen. But the damage to my car was done, with the left front and the left rear impacting the guardrail. Crunched both bumpers, bent in the left fender, and caved in the left quarter panel considerably. Proving it's a tough car to kill, after 25 days in the shop it came back in beautiful shape.
I took these pictures with our cell cameras the next morning after going to see the car at the dealership.
First impact was to a lane divider on the left rear tire, which catapulted the car to the right side of the offramp, where it spun around so that the front left bumper hit first and caused the car to go around again, catching the left rear bumper and quarter panel before coming to a stop. Majority of the damage was confined to the two ends of the car.
The tear down.
Left quarter and rear bumper.
A month and several thousands of dollars later...
Just arriving home from the body shop.