Premonition, Intuition, Coincidence

The first spring I spent in Los Angeles, I got into a serious car accident.

If you've spent any time driving here in LA, you know we don't believe in left turn signals out here. Instead, a driver has to pull into an intersection, wait until the light turns red and then turn left. This little left-on-red game is really fun now that they have red light photo tickets out here, but that's another story.

That spring day, I was hit by someone who ran a red light. I don't mean "sort of" ran the light either. I mean, really ran the red light. Like it had been red for at least five seconds and I was the second car turning on red. I was going south, turning left (east). The van was heading north, speeding at like 50 mph.

I remember the instant I realized that the van was running the light and was going to hit me. I grabbed onto the steering wheel really hard and leaned back because I knew the airbag in my car was going to really hurt. I remember praying for God to protect me. I also remember thinking,, "I knew this was going to happen!"

Twenty minutes earlier, I'd given a report to the Compton school police since someone had keyed part of the hood of my brand new car in a supposedly secure district lot. The officer was nice but clear that I'd probably never get reimbursed the cost of fixing the hood.

I calmed down and tried to see the bright side. I remember telling him, "Well, at least it's just the hood. The whole car could get totaled in a car crash. Thank goodness that hasn't happened yet."

I got in my car and drove away. I remember feeling such a weird energy. I remember thinking that I should pull over somewhere and just take some deep breaths, get my equilibrium back, but I needed to be somewhere else and I didn't want to be late.

The driver hit me so hard that it cracked the engine of my car. The front and passenger side were completely crushed. I thought I was dead and I vaguely remember being pulled out of the car, wondering if this was heaven or the other place. The paramedics just kept trying to get me to talk. I don't remember much but I know they had me laid in the back of an ambulance, wrapped in something because I'd gone into shock. I know I had to be restrained after I said things like, "I'm gonna beat that bitch's ass! She killed my car!"

They didn't take me to the hospital because I refused. So they left me on the sidewalk and told me I should call someone to pick me up. I didn't have a cell phone back in '99. Almost no one I knew had a cell phone. But a pretty large crowd had gathered and a kind stranger had a phone and let me borrow it. I called my teaching supervisor who was also a friend. He dropped everything and came and got me off the curb.

He took me home with him because he was worried about me and didn't think I should be alone. I remember that it was the night the Phantom Menace opened up and he was nice enough to somehow give me one of the tickets he had for the midnight show. So there I was in the theater, completely out of it, sitting around with people dressed up as Wookies and Darth Vader. There were folks play-acting light saber battles in the aisles while waiting for the movie to begin.

As I replayed the sequence of events in my head, I wondered if I'd somehow put the accident in motion by saying that at least my car hadn't been totaled yet. I wondered if it was some sort of premonition on my part, or if it was just coincidence. I sat there watching the beginning of the downfall of Anakin, bothered that I hadn't been listening to my intuition.

Indeed, my car was 100% totaled. I walked away with cuts on my feet from the clutch and brake pedals, a busted lip and some bruises on my face from the airbag. I would find out later that the driver had a full-sized van full of children, was here illegally and had no car insurance. No one in the van was seriously hurt, thank goodness.

She later disappeared. All the information she'd given the police at the scene of the accident was false so there was no way to track her down.

All these years later, I still think about that accident every single day. I wonder if I could have prevented it if I'd just listened to my gut, pulled into a Rite-Aid and gone to buy a pack of gum.

So what do you think? Do you believe it was a premonition on my part to have, twenty minutes earlier, talked about my car not being totaled, or just coincidence? Do you think the weird feeling I had that I should pull over was my intuition ?


Anonymous said…
It was intuition, but you shouldn't feel guilty about discounting it. It's something that you need to pay attention to and develop. It has always paid off for me to listen to my intuition. When I don't, bad things happen, not necessarily horrible, but things I regret later.

"I remember feeling such a weird energy. I remember thinking that I should pull over somewhere and just take some deep breaths, get my equilibrium back, but I needed to be somewhere else and I didn't want to be late."

Well, the weird energy was definitely a big hint that something is amiss. Sometimes, our rational, conscious mind will give us reasons for not doing something. Even so, it's important to listen to our intuition. Yes, we don't want to be late, but our intuition sees more than what appears on the surface. Ultimately, you were not able to make the meeting, so lateness was really a futile point by that time. Intuition really looks out for your own well being and what is in your best interests.
It's not the same thing as plain emotion, although it certainly can manifest on a feeling level.

You can learn a lot about your intuition by looking at certain situations and seeing how you felt beforehand. Then, you'll familiarize yourself with the language of your intuition. Journalling helps. There are also a lot of books on intuitive development.
Mes Deux Cents said…
Hi Liz,

Several years ago I was living on the east coast. On one morning for some reason I had to leave work for something (I can't remember why).

I turned out of the parking lot and stopped for a red light. When the light changed for some reason I just sat there.

A second or two later a van going pretty fast ran the light. It would have broadsided me.

I have no idea why I didn't just go when my light changed to green. I can still vividly see that van going by and the driver looking straight ahead and being totally oblivious to running the light. (What is it with vans running lights?)

Even though I didn't have an accident it was still traumatic.

I think that we all have other senses that are available to use. But I don't think that we allow ourselves to use these senses enough to really understand them.

So your not pulling over was normal, likely most of us would have kept driving too.

But now that you have been through this has it changed the way that you allow yourself to perceive things?

p.s. if (God forbid) you ever have another accident please go to the hospital)
Liz, wow.

What jstele says is very interesting. You didn't want to be late for your meeting and yet you ended up being late anyway. I know sometimes we ignore our gut feelings. I try to listen to my intuition but I do believe in fate and that some things are out of our hands completely. The latter is not a very American way of seeing things. We think we can control everything but you can't.

You have no control over someone who thinks it's okay to run a red light with kids in the car without insurance.
Jameil said…
def. think that was intutition. lmao @ She killed my car and having to be restrained but truly appalled that you didn't go to the hospital!! why not?!?! (how weird is it that we both posted about injuries today w/o me coming here first?)
Anonymous said…
Always trust your intuition or gut feeling, in my line of work it has helped me countless times. Love You!!!
Liz Dwyer said…
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Yes, when I don't listen to my intuition, bad things definitely happen. I've saved my life a couple of times but then when I didn't again, I got robbed at gunpoint. One of these days I will have to write about it.

It is interesting how I ended up being late anyway. I try to pay more attention to this sort of thing these days, but I still sometimes wonder how fate plays into it, etc.

What is it with vans! Thank goodness you didn't automatically hit the gas when the light turned green. I agree that we have so many senses we don't use.

The hospital/doctor thing...I didn't go to the doctor very frequently growing up and I sort of have a thing about it which is not good. The only time in my life that I've regularly seen a doctor is when I was pregnant. Other than that, I don't go. Not good, I know.

No, we can't control everything, even if we are a society of control freaks. I am consistently plagued by the question, "What if?". I've been obsessed with that Robert Frost poem "The Road Not Taken" since I was in 6th grade. Nowadays I try to listen to my feelings that I should cross a street, slow down, not go somewhere, etc. But sometimes I wonder if I'm leaning too much toward a superstitious kind of existence, which I don't think is good at all.

Oh wow, I have to come over and read about your injuries. Yeah, I really wanted to hurt that woman. It was a good lesson in being detached from a material possession because that car was the first nice thing I'd ever had in my life and I was SO into it. I used to take it out and drive at like 2 AM just so I could race around on the freeway.
Yeah, I was a dummy to not go to the hospital, but I was clearly not in any kind of rational state of mind.

I can definitely believe it! I am very glad you listen to your intuition. ;0 And love you too!
Jen said…
I got hit by a car as a pedestrian. I was crossing the street with my 1-year-old son in a stroller in a CROSSWALK and I was hit by a speeding car, who, like your situation, gave completely false information to the police. My son was fine, thank God, but I was in very bad shape for a long time. And it prevented me from having any more children, because my uterus got smashed.

When I went to see my doctor for follow-up, she asked me, "And what is going on in your life that you let this happen?"

This wasn't nearly as callous a comment as you might think, because I was, in fact, overly stressed, not paying attention in general the way I would have been normally. So yes, I think we have some intuition about such things, and you might not have been hit if you drove into that Rite-Aid. But as Jstele said, you can't beat yourself up now. Thank goodness you and the folks in the van were relatively unhurt.
Kari Carlson said…
i think it was intuition. it's so hard to decipher, though, the difference between intuition, fear and wishful thinking.

i've been trying to do that lately -- recognize the difference. for me, the times that i've had a premonition about something, it's often come without a whole lot of emotion. like i just know, as a fact, that something is going to happen and then it does. when it's fear or wishful thinking then there's emotion wrapped around it. i'm not saying there's a hard science to it -- it's just an interesting venture to try and diagnose/recognize feelings like that. and i'm sure the signs of premonition are different for each person.
Liz Dwyer said…
Oh my goodness, your story gave me chills. I am SO sorry that that happened to you. That just breaks my heart. I can't even imagine all of the emotions you've been through as a result.

Someone said something similar to what your doctor said after my accident and I was really upset about the comment. I felt like they were saying it was my fault, but in some ways, I also was so preoccupied with getting everything done that I needed to get done that I didn't pay attention to my gut.

I wish I could give you a hug.

That's a really interesting point. For example, the time I had the premonition that I was about to get assaulted at the Morse El, I had no emotion. I just started running down the platform...I didn't even think about it, I just started running. And then I heard someone running behind me. I turned and there was this guy, taking the steps two at a time trying to catch me.

I just beat him through the turnstile, and then instinct told me to run away from my house, so I ran under the viaduct screaming, "Fire!" as loudly as I could and jumped into the outdoor seating at Heartland, scaring the heck out of the folks trying to eat their dinner. It's absolutely true that in the moment I had the premonition that something bad was about to happen to me, I had no emotion, just the sense that I needed to haul ass. So I did. Thank goodness I did.
dreamyj said…
hey liz,
this is my first time here. i think it was definitely intuition. i've had those feelings before, like something bad could happen and i didn't know exactly what, i could just feel it. it was crazy and then something happened and i had to question myself too, like had i really had an intuition about this and ignored it, i could have saved myself a lot of pain, trouble and stress.
West said…
I'm mildly torn, but I mostly think it was just coincidence.

There's also that part of me, though, that thinks strong feelings ought to be seriously considered.
Liz Dwyer said…
Hi there! So glad you stopped by and shared your thoughts. I think alot about how getting into that accident made things a LOT more difficult for me. But, at the same time, I know that those difficulties made me a stronger person, so maybe it's all good.

Some would say that if I had any mathematical ability beyond 2+2, I'd be able to tell whether it's a coincidence or not. It's like an episode of that show "Numbers".

I guess there's no way of knowing for sure, is there?
Kari Carlson said…
Thank goodness! Geez.
Liz Dwyer said…
Seriously. A friend "sold" me a car for a dollar after that little incident.
I completely believe that your spirit was aware of what was going to happen--hence your intuition.

I remember a similar weirdness one day driving home from work. I had to change lanes in order to access my street. But for some reason, I just wouldn't. I was ridiculously calm and peaceful, but my mind knew I had to change lanes!

Next thing you know, a tractor (pulled by a small truck) suddenly popped off the vehicle and spun into the lane.

It was the same lane that I was supposed to turn into! The front of my car would have been totaled!

I learned that a calm state beats rushed chaos any day. I TRY to avoid being pressed and just accept the consequences! (lateness, etc.)
MartiniCocoa said…
i vote for intuition. It's those weird feelings that we all should pay attention to when approaching new people, adventures and etc.

No don't ever feel guilty about always listening to your intuition--practice being aware that it is there to provide guidance and comfort at times.
Liz Dwyer said…
Wow, that's really something. Thank goodness you didn't switch lanes. The calmness thing definitely helps me out a lot. I hate being late anywhere but I've had to learn to just deal with it sometimes because it's not worth it.

I think it does take practice to pay attention to intuition! SO, important because clearly, from everyone's stories, it can make a huge difference.
storyteller said…
I believe paying attention to intuition takes practice, and experiences like yours lead us to recognize why it's wise to trust ourselves. I often remind myself (especially when feeling impatient in traffic or getting stopped at lots of traffic lights) that there may be a good reason ... something that gets reinforced when I pass an accident later that might have involved me had there been no delays.

As for the person disappearing, when I was 17 (back when dinosaurs roamed the earth) a woman ran a red light and broadsided me causing significant damage to my car, but fortunately not to me. She disappeared shortly afterwards and I had to pay the deductible when my insurance company fixed the car. Interestingly, when I was 37 I got a check from State Farm. Apparently they tracked her down and collected their money and mine 20 years later. :)

I'm glad you were okay after even if your car wasn't.
Hugs and blessings,

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