Never Walk Your Dog on Folly Beach without a Leash!

Autos & TrucksInsurance

  • Author Larry Freudenberg
  • Published January 7, 2012
  • Word count 1,084

Just a few weeks ago on a beautiful Saturday night I was driving my car to Folly Beach in Charleston to pickup my wife from a friend's home. Folly Beach is a barrier island and I was on the bridge that separates the island from the mainland. My car was going no more than 30 miles per hour and I was about three car lengths behind the car in front of me. Just before heading out I was watching the Clemson football game and was wondering at this point what the score was. I hadn't found the station on the radio.

Out of nowhere I felt a crash to the front of my car and then the airbag exploded in my face. One minute everything was perfect. A second later it was like a meteor had fallen on me. What happened? I was driving listening to "Let it Be". I was supposed to pickup my wife from a friend's house. I was only going 30 miles per hour. The sky was clear and it was still light outside. There was no reason why I should have been in an accident. But I was in a wrecked car on the bridge. How? Why me? What hit me? I don't remember seeing the car coming head-on toward me. I didn't see a car in front of me after we stopped.

After a few minutes of being confused, I got out of my car and saw that the truck that hit me was actually behind my vehicle on the sidewalk and next to the guard rail of the bridge. I didn't see a driver. A few minutes passed and a nice young man approached me to ask if I was ok. He was the passenger in the van that was hit by the truck before it struck me. A visitor to Charleston he had just arrived at the airport and was in a Taxi van driving to see friends at the beach. The young man wasn't hurt but the taxi driver who was an elderly man was shaken.

The first things I did after getting out of my car were to call my wife and take pictures using my phone of the wreckage. The police, fire department and on lookers converged in what seemed like only minutes. After speaking to the police, I spotted the young man who caused this accident. He as charged with hitting both cars. His truck was beyond repair and he was walking on the bridge with no shoes on. He looked to be intoxicated but the police never tested or ticketed him for driving under the influence. The Folly Beach Police didn't even give him a ticket for careless driving or really reckless driving. He walked away with no tickets and dodged going to jail. What was even more peculiar was his truck had written in chalk on the rear window information about a prior accident. Later when I met with his insurance adjuster, I questioned her about that prior accident and she told me that she also handled that one for this driver. How could he be in two serious accidents within probably a few months and the Folly Beach police let him walk away without a citation. A few days after the accident, I spoke to a Sargent at the Folly Beach Police Department who said he would check into the case but I never heard from him again. As someone who is a native and goes to Folly Beach often, I know that it is simple to get a ticket just for walking a dog without a leash on the beach. But the Folly Beach police don't know how to write a ticket for a drunk driver? Maybe if he had a dog in the car not on a leash, he would have been cited. Of course not for drunk driving but for having dog off a leash! Let's put it this way. I am not happy with the performance of the Folly Beach Police Department.

This was such a strange experience. As an insurance agent, I often hear from my clients and prospects that they don't know why they need high limits on car insurance, life insurance or even health insurance because they're perfectly healthy or a great driver. Before this accident I was perfectly healthy and also a great driver. I hadn't been in an accident in over 35 years. But this is why we buy auto insurance. Because out of the blue and not ever expecting an accident, my world changed. I could have been killed or seriously injured. We buy insurance to protect us from the unexpected. This was surely unexpected!

I realize that sometimes we think insurance is a waste of money. The nice young man's auto insurance with Progressive took care of fixing my car. Actually the car cost more to repair than the value. It took a month to have it repaired but I am pleased to have it back. Progressive's adjusters were professional and careful to take care of my needs to get my car repaired to my satisfaction and pay for my rental vehicle. On the other hand, I have suffered serious shock and stress from the wreck and the adjusters have failed to this point to compensate me for that. Driving this past weekend, I almost slammed on my breaks to avoid hitting a paper bag! I would say that since the accident my anxiety level is extremely high and I don't enjoy driving my car. The car reminds me of a terrible accident that could have ended my life. I hope that this whole period passes quickly but as of this moment I am still shaking my head in disbelief that this happened to me. What really perplexes me is that I cannot remember seeing the truck coming toward me before it struck the front of my car. How could I miss that? A friend told me that it was probably because I blacked out and my mind erased those few seconds. This has never happened before and I hope to never experience it again.

The only good to come from this wreck is my further appreciation of the insurance industry. Drivers like the bozo that hit me may not do what's right and may have skirted the law yet another time but his auto insurance was there to fix my car. Now only if they'll be there to compensate me for my trauma. We'll have to see on that one.

Larry Freudenberg has built a successful insurance business. After several years as a commercial banker for a major Atlanta financial institution, Freudenberg purchased Triest Insurance Agency in Charleston.

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