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Hank saved my life.

Old 01-02-2019, 02:49 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: northern New England
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Hank saved my life.

There are a lot of posts on this forum written by people complaining about issues with their Mercs, I thought it would be good to add a positive post ... ironically it was that final bit of research about a 2015 GLK250 that made me go test drive Hank; safety, that this post is about.

Early November, late night, driving to pick kid up from school event - on part of a winding, hilly country-side state route lined in densely-packed trees that has no cell reception or anyplace to pull over, during a windy freezing slush-storm, only going an exceptionally cautious 30-35mph, the 6" diameter limbs of a 2ft diameter dead tree fell on my car, "Hank."
The tree came down so suddenly there was no warning - I am still having nightmares of white tree in black sky coming at me.

The limbs hit from mid-hood to to the glass panel above the windshield and mostly bounced off - other than some scratches there was no damage to the grill, headlamps or roof.
(When I went back the next morning for pictures I found a section of 6" diameter limb that cracked right over where the hood and windshield meet, pieces of sheared-off side-view mirrors in each break.)

I hit the brakes immediately and the car did not waver, even in the unplowed deep icy slush he stayed true.
There was nowhere to pull over and if I stayed in the road at the bottom of the hill I'd just gone over it would have caused a bigger accident when the next vehicle would probably have come thru a couple minutes later.
So I drove off, about 2/10ths a mile to the first house with a light on (very nice lady) - the passenger-side of the windshield was shattered and caved-in, the driver side cracks had a couple inches of clear glass between just enough to see thru, and telephoned for help.

I also called the state trooper's barracks to report the collision; they took down the full info and gave me an incident number and the phone number for my insurance company to call come Monday morning.
They didn't send out an officer to "breathalizer" me or anything to that regard - every time I have driven that stretch in bad snowy weather there are at the very least large limbs down in the road, so a tree falling on a vehicle that the driver walked away from without injury is not worth sending out an officer to investigate.
(Two weeks after the incident we had to drive that way after a heavy snow and there were many trees hanging over the road, sometimes all the way to the other side. My husband chuckled when I cringed into my seat as we went under them - you bet I called him out for being a rude ****.)

When my husband and I went out the next morning we found the owner - like a good, frugal New Englander, already chainsawing the limbs into firewood sized chunks.
He stopped when we approached and thankfully we got a few dozen pictures of the tree and road and limbs - and the debris within them.
The landowner said he had known it was a liability and because it was in the state's right-of-way says he had called them a couple months before to come take it down (said he couldn't recall anything about who he spoke to or what office they were in).
The insurance company was very interested in that bit of info.

The insurance inspector was going to mark Hank as totaled - which would have screwed me out of a chunk of change as well as the angst of a possible legal battle beginning with the determination of who was at-fault; landowner or state.
There was extensive damage, all the body parts between the very front and the roof needed to be replaced - many electronics too, but that frame stayed absolutely solid. (The airbags didn't deploy, can only surmise that was because the front and sides didn't take a direct hit.)
Thankfully I had Hank towed to a body shop that specializes in German cars and the owner went to bat for Hank, of course not at all an altruistic move as he would have lost out on a several thousand dollar repair.
He pointed out to the inspector that Hank's rarity value as a diesel makes him worth considerably more and financially it wouldn't be in their best interest to do so - PHEW!
Found out later on that the owner would buy nothing but diesel Merc's for his family haulers, and the folks at that shop got a kick out the name "Hank" and referred to him as such - love it!

I have Hank back, they did an amazing job, he looks as handsome as he must have new, drives even better than when I bought him this past summer (was thinking an alignment may be in order, I was right).
Something told me that V60 wasn't going to be safe this winter, and from the size of the tree and how it hit I'd be squished now if I had not traded it in.

Still having nightmares of white tree coming at me from black sky, but I am alive.

* And we had the two large living pines at the road edge of our own property taken down too, there would be no walking away from those in any personal vehicle.
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