This has been a rough year, Oppo. The latest? I spent the last week working on my mom’s place to get it ready to sell. I drove back on Friday with another U-Haul trailer loaded with the last few items we want to keep. I was heading to the storage unit to offload the trailer yesterday and got rear-ended as we turned into a parking lot.

The guy tried to dodge to the right, the same direction I was turning. I didn’t hear him hit the brakes and there were no tire marks on the pavement, so I’m certain he didn’t make any attempt to stop. The left front of his truck hit the right rear of the trailer. We both pulled into the parking lot to get out of the street. The first thing I did was check on my daughter. She was shaken up, but she’s feeling fine. I feel a little bruised from the seat belt, but overall, I feel fine.

Once we determined that we were ok, we hopped out to check on the guy that hit us and assess the damage. The guy was driving a 2004 Silverado 4x4. The impact crushed the bumper, grill, and hood. The radiator support may have been damaged, but there weren’t any obvious leaks. There were no airbags deployed, so I don’t know if the impact didn’t trip the sensors, if they were previously deployed, or if the truck just didn’t have airbags. There was damage to his truck from other wrecks, so it wouldn’t surprise me if he just pulled out the deployed bags after a different wreck. He told me he does his own repairs, so there’s no telling. When it was all done, he removed the bumper and grill, tossed them into the back of his truck and drove home.

While we waited, I asked him what happened. He said the lights on the trailer weren’t working and he couldn’t tell we were stopping. Well, we checked them, and they were working fine. He made the same claim to the cop who took the report, so he checked them too. Again, they were fine. Once the cop said that the lights were fine, he asked the guy what really happened. The guy said the sun must have been in his eyes. It was a sunny day, but I suspect the real problem was the phone in his hand. It doesn’t really matter. The officer wrote him a ticket and the report will make it clear that the guy was at fault.

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I was pulling the trailer with my wife’s explorer. It didn’t fare so well.

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The receiver hitch is integrated into the bumper and is bolted to the body at either end. The latch for the rear hatch is bolted to the body just above the bumper. The receiver was pushed several inches forward, so the structure had to body had to be pulled together and forward. That would account for the buckle in the quarter panel and the displacement of the hatch. We’ll find out the full extent of the damage when it goes into the shop on Monday.

With the hitch being jammed under the body, I didn’t feel it was safe to tow and I had to contact U-Haul anyway, so I called them and they sent a tow truck. The driver thought he could just pull the pin and slide the receiver out, but it wasn’t going to be so easy. He had to lift the trailer with the towing fork, pound the pin out, then I had to drive the explorer forward while he moved the towing fork up and down to get the hitch to let go. He put a ball on the fork, hooked up the trailer, and hauled it back to my house.

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The damage to the trailer doesn’t look too bad, but the right-rear pillar is offset a couple of inches. The roll-up door is jammed tight, so I don’t know the condition of the stuff we have inside. I’m hoping that the china that my mom painted was packed well enough to take the hit. She wasn’t a famous artist, but those pieces are irreplaceable and priceless to me.

Tomorrow someone is supposed to show up with tools to force open the trailer and we will see the condition of the contents. Then I have to unload everything into another trailer so I can haul it over to the storage unit. I’m hoping we won’t have to make additional claims on the contents.

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I’m thankful that I paid for the insurance on the trailer. Although all of this will cost me time, I shouldn’t have to pay anything out-of-pocket. That is a blessing.