First of all I would like to thank everyone for their advice and support about my accident. It means a lot to me and helped me to start taking some steps to protect myself legally. I thought I would update everyone since my last post.

I talked to Steve Lehto about it and we discussed options for moving forward legally. Basically I can’t do anything until I get the ticket removed. Which should be happening at my informal court hearing on the 31st. The video clearly shows that I have a green light when the work van runs the red light and hits me at about 45 mph. This should make it an open and shut case legally. After that I can’t do personal injury because I most likely won’t win since I’m not permanently injured. I got checked out and diagnosed with a sprained neck and back but should be back to normal in a couple weeks. I may be able to do what’s called a mini-tort for up to $1,000 but not until I’ve cleared the ticket.

I also bought a replacement vehicle! Meet my new to me 2011 Camry Le.

Is has the 2AR-FE 2.5L I-4 engine. I bought it with 120,000 miles on the clock from the parents of a kid I went to high school with. It was listed for $6,500 but I got it for $5,400 which is well below the blue book value. The credit union would have given me up to $8,000 to buy this particular car. The owners also threw in an oil change, a car wash token and a free tank of gas! It was supposed to be $5,500 but he gave me a $100 back as long as I didn’t spend it on “drugs, alcohol or women in tight pants”.

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I doubt I’ll get a lot of positive feedback on the purchase since its a Camry but I bought it for a specific reason. It was a very good deal, I knew the family I was buying it from and it should be as reliable as my Corolla was. Which is very important to me as I’m a college student who commutes 48 miles round trip to school and work (I also work at the University). This may not be very exciting but I like it and it suites my needs at this time. I think it’s a perfect daily driver and something that I could hold onto even after college is done in a couple years. I might be able to get a fun car then but right now I just have to get through the next 2-3 years. I financed it through my credit union for $5000 and put full coverage on it.

It’s my second Toyota and second car I have purchased myself. It’s the first one I’ve financed which sucks cause the last one was payed off and I didn’t get anything from my insurance. But it should help build more credit.

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It’s a noticeable improvement over the Corolla for the following reasons:

  • It’s much quieter
  • Is bigger (I’m 6'3" and really appreciate the extra size)
  • Has greater range 460 vs 360 (It has an 18.5 gallon tank)
  • While it isn’t as fun to whip around corners it is a much better long distance driver.
  • The body and interior are in much better shape (No zip ties holding everything together and way less dents, dings and paint issues)
  • Has more power 169 vs 130 which makes a big difference on the freeway (I don’t have to floor it just to merge or pass)

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My Corolla was called the Black Pearl because it was black and we were rewatching the movie around that time. In honor of that new tradition of naming the car after a legendary ship I’ve christened the Camry the Enterprise. It will soon have a matching sticker on the back window.

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Since I’ve bought it I’ve done some maintenance:

  • Spark plugs (definitely original)
  • Cabin Air Filter (possibly original based on how it looked)
  • Engine Air Filter
  • Clayed and sealed the exterior

I also has a squealing issue from the driver rear wheel. It was strange because it was intermittent. I was thinking wheel bearing but it would stop as soon as I lightly touched the brakes. I therefore thought it could be brake related. I’m not exactly sure what was wrong with it but I fixed it by doing a number of things to that corner. I disassembled the brakes to find that the pads where stuck in place to the rotor. There was buildup behind the pads. After removing them I used a wire brush to clean up the shims and contact points of the pads. I them put brake grease on the shims. I also lubed the slide pins which were so stuck that I had to break them loose with a wrench. It was still making a noise without the pads on so I took the rotor off and found that there is a groove in the back that lines up with the backing plate of the rotor. There was rust built up in it so I used the wire brush and a Dremel to remove it. Then I checked the caliper and it was super easy to retract the piston so I figured that was okay. I reassembled everything and it hasn’t squeaked since! I think it would be good to mention that the car has done 2,000 miles in the past two years. So I won’t be surprised if a few more things like this happen. It was their parents car for a couple years and they barely drove it.

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I also upgraded the radio to an aftermarket unit with bluetooth and HD radio. I had installed the same unit on the Corolla a Monday and then the accident happened on the following Thursday. Luckily I got to take it before it got scrapped so all I needed was a new faceplate adaptor. I also sprung for a steering wheel control adaptor and installed that so the buttons on the wheel still work! I also wired in the dash cam at the same time so you can’t see the wire.

So far I like it a lot. I’m still getting used to it. Sometimes I’m physically uncomfortable in the seat but I think it’s because of the sprained back because sometimes I’m really comfortable in it.

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I’m still overcoming the mental affects of the accident. I have more anxiety than normal when driving especially going through intersections or when it looks like drivers aren’t going to stop. I also have a lot of anxiety when I have to drive a long time (like to and from work/school). I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Major Depression already and this has only made both worse. I am working with my therapist and psychiatrist on this though and I think we are starting to make some progress. I am still driving despite how it makes me feel. I don’t think driving will ever be the same to me and it’s changed my style to be more cautious and less trusting on the roads. My therapist is trying to get me to see the positives of me still driving and working through it and is stressing that it still hasn’t even been a month and that it will take time. I trust her and hope she is right. Time will tell but I think I am lucky I wasn’t more seriously injured and that the other driver was okay as well.

Thanks again everyone for the support! I really appreciate it and the fact that this forum exists with such nice people!