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Impact: Real Drivers. Life-Changing Stories.

Explore unscripted accounts of survival and newfound perspective

William K. Wagonner

Hope, New Jersey

“When the 911 dispatcher asked my name, I couldn’t remember it — I was hit that hard.”

A beautiful, cold February morning, great visibility, traffic moving at 40 mph — except for the SUV behind me, closing in at 65. While I have little memory of the impact, I know that my 2007 C280 4MATIC tightened my seatbelt, readjusted the headrests, turned on the 4-way flashers, and unlocked the doors, while the Brake Assist System kept me from plowing into the car in front of me.

When it was all over, I called 911 and gave my location, details, and any other information they requested, but when the dispatcher asked my name, I couldn’t remember it — I was hit that hard. As I was immediately taken to the hospital, I didn’t get a chance to examine what was left of my car, but I saw it a few days later. The back was crushed, but somehow it looked right; it looked how a Mercedes should look after an accident.

I doubt any other car would have done so well, and more importantly, it protected not only me, but the driver in front of me who never knew how lucky they were that I was in a Mercedes-Benz, in complete control in an uncontrollable situation.

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