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

I learned from this to always keep a good amount of distance from the car in front of you.

The Deleware River port authority learned that a divider on that highway bridge is also a very good thing. 

I once rear ended a man while pulling out of the McDonalds drive-thru. I was driving a piece of junk $50 car. I put it in park while at the window, and then put it in drive, and barely touched the throttle. As I was coming up to the car in front of me, I hit the brakes (going about 7mph) but they went to the floor. I didn't have much experience yet, since this was a mere 3 days after I got my license, so I panicked and didn't do anything except press the dead brake pedal harder. There was no actual damage to his car, just rubber from my front bumper (once again, the 89 Horizon Putzmobile) that rubbed off on his. (which I even removed for him) But he insisted on exchanging insurance info. He ended up getting a new bumper from my insurance anyway (they didn't even bother to inspect it). When he came into my work 2 weeks later and didn't recognize me, I was very tempted to sell him the wrong, very expensive part for his vacuum that he didn't need. But I didn't. Moral of the stor(ies): If you drive around a car called The Putzmobile, be extra careful, and be prepared for people to take you on insurance claims.

It was 1985, and I was in 7th grade and my mother was driving the car (because I was in 7th grade). We were taking our new Schnauzer puppy to the Vet. I was sitting in the back seat of our Ford Escort Wagon with the puppy and my mother hit some black ice and started to go left-of-center. I immediately grabbed the dog and hit the floor. Thankfully, there was no on-coming traffic, and mom finally got back on the correct side of the road, but then went a bit to far and rolled into a tree. She literaly coasted, we couldn't have been going any faster than 5 mph (there was about 20 feet of grass between the road and the tree line to help slow us down). But by the look of the hood wrapped around the tree, we should have been going a lot faster.

When we hit the tree, it was all in slow motion. The puppy escaped my grasp and 'floated' up to the roof, hit the roof, came back down to the seat, bounced over to the window, ricocheted onto the floor and back up into the air where I grabbed her.

No one was hurt. We missed the Vet appointment, and our puppy lived to a ripe old age of 16.

This accident hasn't happened yet, but it's pretty much guaranteed. My wife drives like a bat out of hell on residential streets to get somewhere three blocks away. Given the short distances involved, doubling your speed saves maybe 10 seconds on the trip -- but only if you don't have to stop and explain why you're trying to mow down hordes of school children, joggers, and dog walkers to Officer Smiley.

P.S. Honey, you don't know how to adjust a mirror and at this point, I don't think you ever will!

I flipped my truck over when I spilled beer on my gilrfriend while reaching for the blunt and ran into a cow.

Okay Rob, I think it's time for you to invest in some sort of Blog or Forum software!!! This super-wide plain text crap sucks.

I rear-ended a car at a traffic circle. I was heading South on CA19 (AKA Lakewood Blvd.) in Long Beach, California, approaching the only traffic circle in town. I was getting frustrated anticipating that other drivers would be stopped at the "Yield" sign, because no one in California seems to know how to use a traffic circle. I was determined not to stop and to simply merge with the circling traffic the way you are supposed to. I wanted to show the idiots how it was done. I was SO concentrated on watching the circling traffic that I completely failed to see the car in front of me stopped at the yield sign. I rear-ended him at no more than 5 miles per hour, doing minor damage to both cars, and thankfully injuring no one. I learned to be a little less cocky that day. I also learned to pay much more attention to objects in your immediate trajectory, and a little less attention to objects in your long-term trajectory. [Google Earth screen shot of traffic circle emailed, reference number: LBTC19]

While driving a Plymouth Acclaim that I got for $50, I was rear ended at a relatively low speed. On a left turn arrow, people followed through, but quickly had to slam on their brakes for a semi making a right turn into some industrial area. I barely avoided hitting the person in front of me, but a girl in a Beretta clipped my corner. We pulled off to a side road, and she was freaking out, apologizing profusely. I took a look at my bumper, saw only a minor scratch that covered up one that was there previously, and went to talk to her. She was really cute, and had smashed out her front left turn lens. I put my hands on her shoulders, said "Are you ok?". She was, so I told her to settle down, gave her the address of a local junk yard where she could get a new turn signal, and told her to go home. She got in her car and drove off, and then I kicked myself for not getting her name and insurance info. Moral of the story: ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS get the cute girl's phone number. Don't pass up golden opportunities like that. Go for the date.

We had just finished toilet-papering Leah's house and were celebrating by eating corn-dogs at the all-night Safeway. Then we got the idea to throw eggs on the toilet paper. After buying 4 dozen, Joe took off in his mazda pickup and I took off in my '82 Chevy Cavalier. The 500 block of Smith Drive in Woodburn, Oregon has a sharp corner where Leah's house used to be. Since Joe and I both had our headlights off so as not to garner suspicion, we didn't see each other and collided head-on. My bumper came unhinged on the driver side, the hood was a little bent, and the front fender folded backwards. Also I was covered in eggs. I fixed the car later by tying the bumper back on with a jumprope I found by the courthouse a few days later. This crash changed the way I drive in that I no longer egg things. Or drive without headlights in the middle of the night. As a weird side-effect, I no longer eat omlettes.


I drive my father's Ford E-350 XLT Van. It's big. As in 20ft long, 3000lb empty big. 12mpg highway, dont-even-ask-what-it-gets city big. It has, at last count, been involved in seven rear-end collisions. In each case, it was us that was rear-ended, and the other seven drivers that had to call a tow truck because they had just totalled their car. 
The worst was the most recent, where a Toyota ran into the boat we were towing , doing about 30mph. We had come to a dead stop in a traffic jam, and the other driver didn't. He skidded for about 30ft before he smushed his hood, split his radiator in half, and cracked his engine block on the out-drive of the boat. I really have to feel sorry for the guy, it was obviously his first car, he still had a provisional license(just like mine! Lucky I wasn't driving the van). 
Reviewing the situation, there is nothing more that we could have done in the van. So, please people, watch out for vans which are much larger than you are. You would be surprised how quickly we can come to a stop for something ahead of us. And those big, ugly bumpers are not made out of the same plastic as your Toyota's is. 
This accident especially has served as why I especially have to listen to my father's constant wise words "Don't hit anything!". It'll hurt. And not us. 
The Poor fellow's Dead Toyota
Our Really Large Van
More pictures of the Accident Detailed
Me(for you curious web-stalker types)

well this one time, on a gradual turn on an icy dar, this one car slid out of the other lane and into ours, it waws scary and it involved about 3 or 4 cars

$wrapme is what you want to get wrapped around.
$wrapped has been wrapped to 100 characters. 
Please implement, we love you Rob, we hate this text file crap.

$wrapme = str_split( $wrapme , 100 ) ;
$wrapped = implode( "\n" , $temp ) ;

I was driving along in pretty heavy traffic, and wanted to merge into the lane on my right. I started to flash my blinker and checked my blind spot--it appeared that a truck was stopping so that I could squeeze in front of him. I looked forward again and began to merge, but before I knew it he had revved up his engine and had shot past me when i was HALFWAY IN THE LANE. I was in a huge SUV and he was in a littler truck, but I managed to scrape by with just a slapped mirror. The worst part was that he pulled over about a 1/4 mile up the road to scream at me about it. I'm definitely never going to think that someone's letting me in unless I get a wave or something first.

I had just broken my finger, and was quite distracted by the pain. Regardless, a car in front of me stopped short, and I dinged her rear bumper. It did almost no damage, leaving only a small discoloration on my bumper and no trace on hers.
A second incident occurred when I was backing out of a parking lot at work. I was changing the track on my cd, and not paying attention. Little did I know that a car had pulled in behind me, basically blocking me in. The driver had gone back into the building to grab something from her desk. Anyhow, I hit her car.

I learned nothing, other than how horribly expensive a minor ding can be.

I was driving along on a 30-something single lane road that goes through the beach area of my town. My friends and I were supposed to go skydiving that morning, but we got rained out, so we were already kind of bummed that day. I was driving on "autopilot", not paying very much attention. I heard my girlfriend say "Hey" in warning, and I remember thinking "What does she want." She had time to scream "HEY" a little louder before I drove my Buick LeSabre straight into the stopped car in front of me, a Mercedes. I started to panic, because at the time I didn't have a valid driver's license or any insurance. If the cops were called, not only would I be out a lot of money but I'd probably go to jail. As we pulled off to the side of the road, I saw a third car pull of with us, and I realized I had actually knocked the stopped Mercedes into the car in front of it. This was getting worse. When we inspected the damage, my hood, bumper, and left headlight were totalled. Then I looked at the two other cars and, miraculously, there wasn't a scratch on either of them. The other drivers said that since there was no damage to their cars, they would just leave without calling the cops. I was elated. Later, I had to shell out about $800 for used replacement parts [Auto-Zone wanted $2300 for new parts]. The lesson: watch the damn road.

Not exactly a crash story, but in response to your statement "Hey, here is a dangerous scenario, watch out for it" -- there is one great way to learn this stuff. I highly recommend an advanced driving school. I have taken the one-day condensed version of the Skip Barber school, but there are other such as Bob Bondurant. Expensive, but insanely fun, and gives you the skills to handle real-world stuff out on the roads by practicing in a safe-environment.

I was on a 4-lane city street (no center turn lane) traveling in the left lane when I saw acar in front of me waiting to make a left. I checked for cars to my right and rear and made a simple merge to the right lane. Sudenly a car from the other direction made a left turn across my lane and I impacted the back of her car. It turns out that she never saw me because the car that had been making a left in front of me completely blocked her view. I am now a lot more cautious and deliberate when I go to the right lane to avoid someone slowed or stopped for a left turn. 

My first wreck, or rather, the first time a car I owned was wrecked into was when my roommate with the illegally dark window tinted Camaro scraped the entire driver's side of my '65 Mustang convertible. It didn't change the way I drove but I learned a lot about the insurance industry. We were both insured by the same company and they wanted to pay me for a (at the time) 25 year old car. Although the car was a daily driver it was in very good condition and to repair it properly took a lot more money than they ultimately were willing to give me.

My second accident involved excessive speed on my part, and a car pulling out in front of me. I learned that in spite of the fact that my right of way was brazenly seized from me that I could still be found at fault, and ultimately it did change the way I drove. Slow down, so that when the unexpected happens, you have time to react. Oh, and learn to expect the unexpected.

My wife was involved in an accident that was clearly the other driver's fault, but when the police report came out, she was listed as the responsible party. After getting nowhere with the local PD, I took my fight to my insurance company. I explained the circumstances and, lo and behold, through the magic of subrogation, we were absolved. The lessen I learned is that when you know you are right, don't accept the traffic officer's report as the final word.

Jeff in Louisville

I was backing up so i could get into a space. I took my foot off the brake pedal to reverse and the car didnt move so i tapped the gas and slammed into the car behind me. 

A brand new black Acura. 

Oops. Three Latino men came out and screamed at me in what i believe was spanish, then finally when they had calmed down, the driver who was a nice man after all, saw how shaken up I was and offered to just let me pay for the damages. He didnt see the need to call insurance (I dont think he had any), and also he was the owner of a BODY SHOP. 

I thanked my lucky stars, paid the man what he asked, ($200) which i thought was amazing. Considering the fact that i had put a lovely post-it note sized hole in his bumper and numerous lovely scratches into a brand new cat. I felt like i got off easy. 

My car suffered no damages. My GS300 is built like a tank. 

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


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July 22nd, 2006 

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