Reader-Submitted Collisions

These are the first responses from  readers answering the question "What happened in your crash? Did it change the way you drive?

Enjoy! Page 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10      Introduction

My first accident was the day after I got my license. I was turning around and my friend told me to watch out for a telephone pole on the right side of the car. I neglected to look behind me, and drove the trailer hitch of my dad's Chevy Blazer into the front grill and radiator of a car parked in the street. I was lucky my dad was still paying for the insurance. So I don't listen to other peoples instructions while I'm in the drivers seat.

I had a nice skid taking a left turn too fast, and drove the Blazer over a short street reflector, and into one of those round, smooth concrete poles. When I tried to back up, the reflector pole (one of those u-shaped metal poles) dug into some hydraulic thing, causing a leak in brake fluid, and making me unable to stop easily after getting out of the situation. Again, Dad was not pleased.

Finally my dad gave me my own little truck to drive - I only got into one accident with this - a slow rear-end accident. After I wen to college, my sister got into a few accidents with this truck and managed to total it.

I too had a radio-related crash. While driving my sister to school, I was trying to find something better on the radio, and she was putting on makeup. Neither of us noticed the Ford Tempo taking a left into the parochial school. I smacked right into them at about 30, making a nice dent in their trunk with the Blazer. The blazer was of course unharmed. So now I keep my eyes on the road while I play with the radio.

When my dad got a new full size truck a few years later, I drove it to my boyfriend's house the night before I was to return to college, so I could say goodbye. It was a wintry New England night, and one of the biggest ice storms of the year was occuring. I managed to do a 180 degree spinout on my way home, but was able to NOT hit anything. Was the visit to the boyfriend worth it? Well, we are married now...

The last accident I was involved in (knock on wood...) was about 9 years ago - a 20MPH rear-ending of a woman who decided to go at a stop sign, then stop suddenly. I was driving a Pontiac Grand Am. I really try to pay more attention now, and I find that driving a smaller car helps. I have a VW Golf. Of course that doesn't preclude any accident-prone-ness - my husband managed to back into my door and gouge it up pretty well a few weeks back! Ah well, that only makes me realize more how physically unimporant a car should be. I used to worry about paint chips and stuff, now I just worry about getting there!

I was driving on I-95 in Connecticut on a day when the road was wet. Many of Connecticut's highway on-ramps have very tight curves and no acceleration lanes. We were cruising past one such on-ramp when a driver took the curve too fast and her car spun out in front of us, and we hit it. Everyone was okay, but both cars were totaled. The lesson: don't drive in Connecticut.

I was on my way to school and cruising down a hill. There was a traffic light at the bottom of the hill and it was green. So I didn't slow down at all, just flew into the intersection. A car ran the red light on my right, and POW. Don't assume that you can't get into an accident because you have the light. Always proceed with caution through an intersection.

I was stuck in crawling bumper-to-bumper traffic on a Chicago "expressway", and rear ended the monster truck in front of me in a moment of not-paying-attention. We got out to assess the damage, and even at such a low speed, mine was impressive (about a $400 repair). The hood of my car was wrinkled back a bit, because that was where the *bottom* of his bumper had hit me. He had a few scratches on his bumper and seemed to want to wait for the police to fill out a report. I said that I'd be willing to wait, but that if the police came, I would ask them to measure the distance between the bottom of his bumper and the ground. In Illinois, that maximum is 14 inches, and his was way higher than that. Faced with a $250 fine, he decided to call it evens and we parted ways sans police. Lesson from the crash: Know your vehicular laws; they may enable you to negotiate your way our of an aggravating situation.

My friend was driving and I was the passenger. He and I were messing with the radio when BAM we smacked into a car making a left hand turn from the opposite direction we were driving. We and the other party pulled off and my friend realized he didn't have his license! We were close enough to our homes that I could run back to his house, grab his license, and get back to the scene before the 5-0 got there. That was a close one.

I was 17 years old and a senior at a private school in Orange County, CA. I was on my way home from school in my first car a 1979 Datsun 280 ZX. I had spent countless hours repairing this car and bringing it back from complete dispair. Needless to say it was my baby. Back to the accident... I was coming down Jamboree which had a moderate downhill before coming up on PCH and of course I had driven this road hundreds of times coming back from school and from visiting my girlfriend at the time who lived off of this particular road. I decided that I longer wanted to listen to Johnny Rotten scream about some injustice in the world while he was with PIL so I looked down to the tape player to eject it and find a new one. Before I knew it I looked up and there was a Honda Civic Hatchback coming up fast! I slammed on my brakes but not in time and plowed into this womans car. I hit her going about 30 MPH and because of the slant on the nose of the car and slamming on the brakes I ended up under her car. I ended up backing up to get out from under her car which is when a motorcycle officer decided to pull a U-turn and stop to check out the scene. The poor lady couldn't even open her doors and had to climb out the back of the car to talk to us. As the three of us talked and exchanged all of our information the officer took my aside. Apparently he had noticed that I was still in my private school attire and that I had my class ring on. He asked if I knew his daughter that went to the same school. It just so happened that she and I were in the same homeroom and physics class together. He ended up letting me go with a warning. Here is where it gets kind of weird...The lady filed a claim with the insurance company saying that I had given her whiplash, etc. but come to find out she had injured herself in a skiing accident the weekend before so she got nothing but car repairs. After my senior year I went off to UCSB where I didn't need a car so I lent it to my dad. Then about four years later as I'm in college my dad calls me to tell me this crazy story about his neighbor that remembers getting hit by a car that looked exactly like the one he had. Needless to say, my old man just listens to her tell the story but now it end up that the stress of the accident had caused her to lose her job and all of her hair fell out! My old man being cool with the situation said, "Musta been someone else" and walks away.

Yeah, it taught me that comprehensive insurance and compulsory third party insurance isn't worth the paper it's written on if the other driver claims to be unlicenced and uninsured... not to mention driving and unregistered vehicle.

I was stopped at a red light when an oncoming car ran the red. It slammed into a car moving from my right to my left, spinning it into the left front corner of my car cauing &5600 worth of damage. The scumbag insurance company tried to claim I ran trhe red light and took more that two months to accept liability.

Now, I run red lights to avoid errant grandmothers.

I learned not to drive too fast down dirt roads because there'll probably be old ladies driving too close to the center and force you off into a ditch.

I learned that just because you're an animal lover you shouldn't swerve to miss it going 60 mph because you'll probably roll your car in a very large embankment. I don't swerve anymore. ANIMALS BEWARE.

I was leaving work a little early, and thus, didn't expect anyone else to be moving in the small parking lot behind our building. I looked before I started to reverse, but while I was reversing I began to think about other things, and backed right into my coworker's wife who had come to drop something off, and was backing out from the space behind me at the same time I backed out. She said afterward that she saw me coming, although I was unaware of her until I hit her. If she had beeped, the collision wouldn't have occurred. I took full responsibility anyway, because I knew I should have been watching while I reversed. I paid for her car's repair out of pocket.

Moral of the story is that hitting someone in the parking lot just outside the building is not the best way to sneak out early from work.

It didn't really change the way I drive, because ordinarily I am careful to continue to look while I reverse, it's just in that case I thought I could leave my guard down a bit.

I flipped my Saab over while comming out of a parking lot. (one tire hit the curb, the opposite tire went into a pothole, and the car rolled). The neighborhood people were very helpful, and although I did not speak spanish, I could tell they were very concerend about getting me out of the car. I was touched. As I was being driven away in the ambulance, I saw them stripping the steroe and speakers out of my car. sigh. 

I once turned too widely into a parking space and put a big ol' dent on the side of the car in the space adjacent. There was no damage to my car, so I completely panicked, threw the car in reverse, and fled out of there. The next day in another parking lot, some kid opened his door too fast and it slammed into mine, denting it. The father offered to pay for the repairs, but I explained to him that karma was setting things right for me. (This is years before My Name is Earl, mind you.)

Another time, I parked in a parking deck, turned off the car, and undid my seatbelt as I marvaled at how the cars on each side of me were backing out simultaneously. Then I hit the car in front of me. It seemed I forgot to pull the e-brake when I stopped the car (standard transmission obviously).

The way I drive, I really consider myself lucky that I've never been in anything more serious than that.

I've never been driving in a serious two-car accident. However, about a year ago I was going 60 on a highway cloverleaf, and it had been raining that morning. I felt the rear wheels slipping, but could not correct the skid as there was another car keeping pace with me in the next lane. The safest thing I could do was to let my car spin out onto the median, where the deep grass and soft soil would stop me naturally. The only damage was a leaking front tire (which was brand-new and therefore still under warranty). Now I take all curves more slowly -- I used to rely on the tight turn radius of my car to handle curves at high speeds, but this taught me it's not the only variable.


Way back when, in about 1992, a good friend of mine and I were driving a couple of girls home after a night out. We were heading back to one of their houses at about 12:00am or so. Now understand that in our small town the stop lights only work normally until about 11:00pm. After that they flash yellow for the primary flow of traffic and red for the cross-traffic until about 6:00am when they go back to normal. 
We were driving downtown toward her house and came across a blind corner (5th and Scott) where the light was flashing yellow for me and red for the cross traffic. Now if you think back to drivers education class you are supposed to yield at a flashing yellow and stop on red. Well, since it was late at night I figured I really didn't need to pause before crossing so I crossed the intersection at about 30-35mph. As I cleared the building on my left that blocked the view of oncoming traffic I noticed the car hurtling toward us at about 45mph. The other driver was already at my door by the time I even registered what was about to happen.
Now I'm driving a brown 1981 Toyota Corolla 4 dr, with 4 people in the front seat (1 driver me, one passenger, one girl on passengers lap, and one girl next to me sitting on the console). My car's got the body ingtegrity of a piece of tissue paper, and she's driving something akin to a sherman tank..
She hits my drivers side door, at about 45mph, and proceedes to stop almost all of my forward motion and pushes us across the intersection, through a stoplight pole, and into a telephone pole pushing the hood all the way to the windshield, and my drivers door to about the midpoint of my seat.
The two girls in my car each hit the windshield but were thankfully otherwise unhurt, my friend cracked his sturnum but was able to walk away, and I walked away with a cracked elbow and a totaled car. 
The girl that hit us later stated that she never saw the BIG RED FLASHING LIGHT!
The moral of the story is that to this day, everytime I cross that intersection I pause just a little. Sometimes even when the light is green, and I always pause at flashing yellow lights if I can't see the cross-traffic...
You may ask yourself why were their four people in the front seat of your little tiny car when you said it was a four door... Second moral to the story, a speaker box the size of a house is safer in the back seat than are four teenagers packed into the front seat without seatbelts...

What happened in your crash? Did it change the way you drive?


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July 22nd, 2006 

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