Car Accidents Happen Fast
I have been driving since I was 16 without ever causing an accident, or even so much as dinging another vehicle. Then I pulled out of a parking space, a car sped around a corner, and we collided.
It was really just a fender bender. No one was hurt. We exchanged information. Then we went our separate ways to call our insurance companies.
My coworkers were sympathetic. Two of them confessed that they’d hit cars in parking lots — and the cars had been sitting still. They knew the pain of admitting fault and coughing up cash.
Although the other car was speeding, since I was pulling out of a space, I got pinned for the fault. If I wanted my bumper to stay attached, I had to pay a $500 deductible.
My insurance company wouldn’t give me a list of repair shops, and asking for recommendations was tougher than I thought. No one walks out of a repair place delighted after not having their car for awhile. It’s not the most fun activity in the world.
The last, and previously only, accident I was involved in happened when I was a teenager. On a Saturday afternoon, I was on my way to work, and another driver ran a red light and T-boned me.
We were both fine. My car had been damaged, but was safe to drive. After information was exchanged, I kept driving to work. The car was long repaired before the stress of the accident really hit me.
My neighbors later saw the crumpled car and asked me if I was OK. They were very concerned, but I was physically fine. One of my neighbors told me she was in a serious wreck, and had been afraid to drive ever since.
For that accident, my parents handled a lot of the leg work with the insurance and repairs.
This time, it was me and my husband doing all the work.
This accident was more minor. The damage was not as noticeable. But it really shook me up and made me re-evaluate things. Such as, maybe it isn’t healthy to work six or seven days a week, every week. I had a stressful morning at work, got errands done at lunch, and then got into the accident.
After an accident, we mentally rewind and try to figure out what caused it. I didn’t need to trust my memory: it was on dashcam. The car was there, and it wasn’t. Slam.
I’ve seen other people get shaken up about accidents, even when there was no injury. I would think, Relax! You’re okay! We all make mistakes, right?
Well, now I understand what they’re going through. It’s traumatic! And the aftermath leaves you with a lot of “what ifs.”
What if I could’ve avoided it?
What if it had been worse?
I now have more fear when I drive, which I hope will end up being a good thing. I’m cautious, because I don’t want another crash.
I know it will take time to really feel comfortable again, but I’m back behind the wheel. The accident was over in a second, but the aftermath will take longer to resolve.