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

One night I was following a friend in his car to a place I had never been before. It had snowed earlier that night, and there was about half an inch of undisturbed snow on the ground. We were driving on a winding country road, and as I followed my friend around a curve, I realized we were going too fast for the conditions. I let off the gas and very gently tapped the brake. Even that tap was too much. I began to spin out of control. My friend must have done the same thing, because he began to spin out at the same time. I couldn't control my car, so I sat back and watched everything spin by. Eventually I came to a stop in the cornfield. My friend and I laughed giddily when we discovered that we were both OK, and had done no damage to our cars, but it was by pure luck that neither of us slammed into a telephone pole, or oncoming traffic, or each other. Lesson learned: just because you are following someone, doesn't mean they are driving safely. If they are going too fast, and you start to lag too far behind, they will slow down if they are courteous. If they don't, they're probably a jerk anyway, and it would be better to lose sight of them than to get in a car accident. I could have really hurt/killed myself and others if this had happened on a busy road. 

I have yet to crash seriously. I slid once in 3 inches of slush into an ancient van & they guy said, I'm late for work & I'm fine if I don't hear anything from you in 1 yr I'll toss your plates that I wrote down & I haven't hear nuthin. but I say yet, becuase I have had my fair share of dangerous encounters. people trying to turn into my lane on the highway whithout looking... turning left on red when slightly oblivous. & distractions from having passegers. I get really forgetfull *stupid passengers* but I haven't hit anything, & everyone expects me to.

Driving up a side street in a 79 98 olds lady who was parelel parked pulled into my passenger door. Ripping the front of her car off, well the bumper anyway. 98, just dented a bit. 

Although I'm lucky enough not to have been in an accident, I have had multiple near-misses in my 8 years of driving. One summer my radio/CD player broke, and I didn't have the money to get a new one. I found that while driving alone with no radio/CD playing, my mind would wander like crazy. This caused me to drive like a fool, and almost run into other cars multiple times. Once I realized the problem, I got bought myself a new radio and haven't had a problem since. It is almost counterintutive that I need background noise to concentrate.

I have never been in a crash since I started driving 4 years ago (I'm 20 in a month) I chock it up to young reflexes (I have been in several close calls because of other people drifting into my lane or cutting me off, or turning closely into the street in front, etc) safe following distances, and a high level familiarity with the car I drive. If driving another persons car or truck I drive slower and much more cautiously (because 1:I don't want to mess up someones else's car, and 2: I don't know it's braking speed, acceleration, handling, or dimensions.) All this and I'm also not one of the aweful slow driver, I drive equally as fast as probably the fastest cars on the road at any given time, and do my fair share of passing in the right lane (which is legal in Illinois)

After a night of heavy drinking and drug abuse, I was driving down the street from a friends house, a 4 lane road, 2 on each side. I was talking to a friend in another vehicle in the left lane while we were both driving to the liquor store to pick up where we left off... I saw a look of alarm of my buddies face and looked forward, and there it was... A dead car in my lane and I'm driving 40+ mph. Dammmmn! I hit the thing hard and really screwed up both cars, but the funny thing is, when the cops got there, they asked for insurance and id's. As it turned out, this guy was an illegal with no papers of any type. They took HIM in and told me to go back to my friends and get some rest!! Unbeleivable! So my other buddies completed the liquor store mission, and I got some well needed rest until they got back.

i was stopped at a red light waiting to turn left onto leicester highway. there are 2 lanes that turn left i was in the farthest one over and an older man was in the one next to me. the light turns green and we both slowly pull into the intersection. a lady runs a red light and slams right into my car causing me to hit the older mans car, i get out as quickly as possible and walk to the side of the road to avoid being hit. the crazy lady tells me its my fault that i ran a red light but my light was clearly green. i think she was drunk

I had had my license only 7 months when it happened. I was making a left turn onto a 5 lane road (one middle turn lane) from a side street with a stop sign. I brought the GMC Sierra to a full stopped and looked both ways. I pulled out of the side street, sneaking a quick look to the right, and I didn't notice the small motorcycle heading at me on my left. When I finally saw it, I slammed on the breaks, taking up one an a half lanes, but leaving plenty of room to go around (no one else was on the road at all). Completely stopped in the middle of the road, BAM! the motorcyle went under the front of the truck, while the motorcyclist's head came down on the step bar as his body wrapped around the front tire. In the end, the motorcyclist was taken to the hospital and suffered a broken ankle and some bruises. Our insurance covered everything, costing our entire life insurance policy. A year later, the final paperwork was signed and the case came to a close. Since then, I always pull into the middle lane, even if I can make the complete turn. And waiting at a stop sign a little longer, doesn't hurt either.

The Geo Prism is not what one would call a "substantial" car. It, in fact, might be something one would be inclined to call "tinfoil" or even "Saran Wrap". However, in order to match standard California freeway speeds (determined mainly by CA citizens, not the state govt.), I'm usually forced to drive it at around 70-80 miles per hour. Unfortunately, I was previously unaware that a "safe" buffer zone between you and the car in front of you is NOT 3-4 car lengths, but instead 1 car length for every 10 MPH of speed. This is almost double the regular buffer left by 90% of freeway drivers.

When the Excursion ahead of me braked hard to avoid smashing a backwards Suburban parked in the far left lane, I was unable to determine in adequate time that it was not simply slowing down, but performing an emergency stop.

My Prism is now approximately 60% of its former horizontal length, and 100% less operable. Thank engineers for airbags, or I would have been similarly impaired.

Now, I drive with 1 car length in front of me for every 10 MPH of speed (1 semi- of length for 3). Other drivers cut me off a lot, but I'm far less likely to get my car wrecked than they are.

In drivers ed, I laughted a little when the teacher seriously asked "what does a siren mean?" And the answer was "danger!". His point was that any time an emergency vehicle comes through, people go wild and act like idiots and it's a pretty dangerous time.. you should become alert and really be careful of not just the siren itself but also your neighbors who may do strange things. In 20 years of driving, I have seen two accidents exactly because people panicked at a siren and froze or pulled out in front of others, or just acted stupid. What does a siren mean? Danger!

I wasn't driving (I'm only just 15), but i was in a car with about 3 other people and we were driving back from a fireworks show, down a country lane, so it was dark. We were driving towards a small airport and some foreign men were driving on the wrong side of the road. no damage to anybody in the car i was in (except maybe slight whiplash) but in the other car, one of the passengers in the front seat wasnt wearing a seatbelt and nearly went through the screen. 

I was exiting I80 east at Auburn Blvd near American River College. It was a rainy evening 
and I was late for my 6pm class. There was a long line of cars in each of the lanes waiting for the
traffic light to change, backing up to the curve from the freeway. This meant that on the offramp,
going freeway speed, you could round the curve and not see the stopped cars.
I was stopped in line, when in the lane next to me I heard a horrible screeching and some beater
really slammed into the back of a BMW. It ripped the old car to shreds but the BMW had its trunk 
accordioned and not much else. Meanwhile, the light turned green and i began drifting forward 
while being distracted by the accident next to me... when BOOM i bumped an old truck in front of
me. I'd had my license for about 6 mos and was scared sh*tless! We pulled over, the guy in the 
truck was a sweetheart, and didnt even want my information. (My car, by the way, got some black
scratches from his bumper but that was it.) All in all, I learned NEVER to assume anything 
(traffic or otherwise) because if you assume traffic will keep moving it most likely won't. 
Especially at a traffic light.

I was turning right at a major intersection in town. The right turn lane veers into it's own separate 'exit-like' ramp but doesn't have it's own separate signal. Cross traffic had the green light, but there were no cars coming and you can see almost a half-mile since the road approaches down a low slope. Another car was turing right 100-150 feet in front of me, so as I approached the turn lane I looked back to the left, no cars. Kept moving 7, maybe 8 miles an hour around the curve of the turn lane... BAM there was the car stopped in the middle of the turn lane... no cars coming, it's own whole separate lave to feed into, NO REASON TO STOP! I got out of the car and started walking forward glanced at the bumpers, nothing obvious, two smooooth bumpers, but there was this strange noise in the air... some engine defect? a wounded animal? no a 60-65 year old woman screaming like the devil trying to claw her way out of the passenger side of the car... Was she hurt? no. was the driver hurt? no. was the car hurt? no. witnesses told the cop they couldn't understand why the guy stopped where he did. Why was the old lady screaming? No one knows. The cop probably felt a little sorry for me, so finally he says "I guess that's it". Now I've been in accidents before so I'm a little shocked by just being turned loose so quickly... I say the dumbest words ever uttered... "ok, so thats it, no ticket?" Ask and ye shall receive.

It was after 11pm at night. It was pretty foggy out, and by foggy, I mean visibility reduced to roughly 30ft in front of you. I had stopped at an intersection stop sign, looked both ways and couldn't see any traffic coming up the street. So I ventured forward (~ 20K/hr)...into the side of some rusted-up boat, driving extremely fast (70km/hr is my judgment) up the hill and through the intersection.

I figure the speed was fast, because she did a few donuts and slammed into a telephone pole, while I only skidded a few feet. Basic physics tells me that I wasn't driving with enough speed to force another car into a tailspin LOL. Plus, I didn't see any headlights coming up the hill (although I didn't remember that detail until after the cops had done their duty.)

Ahh, the cops. Unfortunately, the city five-oh aren't physics scholars. After listening to her wailings of soft-tissue injury, I had to sit in the back of the cop car and sniffle out my version. Even better was seeing my mom pull up in a cab to rescue me from the back of said cop car. 

That was my first and only accident (4 years ago). My apologies for any bitterness that came through in my story! Although I didn't get a traffic ticket or lose any points, my insurance company said it was my fault, simply because I hit her. Her car was written off (about $2 CAD?) My mom's Dodge Neon, about $1600 CAD, due to a bent frame and wheel alignment.

It didn't change the way I drive, though. I was nervous at first, but it didn't take long to feel comfortable. 

Happy to contribute my lil car sob story! Have always loved your site! =)

Cheers, Bryn from Saint John, Canada

My first crash was once when I was runnign late to work. I pulled off the highway at what I knew was a difficult off-ramp. The drivers turning right at the bottom of the ramp (like me) had a Bad Angle to see oncoming traffic. The woman in front of me pulled up and started a quick acceleration, then stopped for no reason. There was no car coming, but she stopped anyway. I had started to accelerate behind her, but saw that she was stopping short, so i slammed on the brakes. It was close, but I didn't hit her. I was pissed because I was getting later for no reason. So then she started accelerating quickly again and I started accelerating while looking over my left shoulder. There were no cars coming, but she stopped again. This time i drilled her. Just a little damage to her car, but my hood was stuck closed and headlight bashed in. Total of probably $1500 (my fault!) damage.

The other accident I got in also involved thinking that the person in front of me had gone. I was looking for a certain store and approached a stoplight. I saw the car 40 yards in front of me get to the intersection as it was turning yellow. I thought her went through and then got distracted looking for the store. He had stopped and I drilled him pretty good. I put in an insurance claim, so it cost me the deductible ($500) and some points on my license.

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


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July 22nd, 2006 

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