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 almost rolled my car driving just after a snow storm in January 2002, the coldest month of the year. The road was almost nothing but ice, and there was a light dusting of snow on top, which causes very slippery road conditions. The road hadn't been plowed or sanded yet, so things were very very slippery. I had an empty gas tank, and 4 nearly bald tires, which means my car had no traction, and weighed considerably less than it could have. I was only driving about 25 mph, but that still wasn't slow enough. I started to fishtail and being a novice ice-driver, I over compensated for the slippage. I ended up sliding backwards over a narrow median; about two feet wide, and the other side of the road was a good foot and a half lower than the side I was driving on. My back wheels both hit the curb at the exact same time, and the tail end of my car bounced into the air. The car came down and sort of see-sawed on the "fulcrum" of the median. I still had a lot of momentum to use up, and I suspect I gained some in rolling down the median. My car slid across the wrong side of the road, bounced off the curb, and spun around twice before hitting the curb on the other side of the street. 

I broke one of the rear spindles that holds the wheel on, broke a strut, broke my stearing gear, and bent the frame on my car. By some amazing gift of luck, my frame is bent in exactly the same place, at exactly the same angle on both sides of the car, and my wheel alignment is still nearly perfect. However, if it weren't for the fact that my dad is a technician for a Lincoln Mercury dealership, my car would have been totalled. There was no way I'd be able to afford a new car so, we quietly replaced the parts at a cost of $750 to me, and the insurance company never heard about it.

Now, when winter rolls around, I always make sure I have good tires on my car, and when it snows, I always make sure I have a full tank of gas. These 2 simple precautions have kept me from sliding around on the ice ever since.

I was in a parking lot, waiting for my turn to pull out of the row of spaces and onto the main road thing. I was in a very noticable black Ford Ranger. (The noticeable part was my extremely loud stereo) So this lady had come out of the store and got in her car, and apparently DID NOT SEE my big shiny loud black truck behind her car, and proceeded to back straight into the passenger door... Of course, paying no mind whatsoever to the fact that my horn was BLARING.

I was sitting in the back seat, Christian was in the death seat (front passenger) and Billy was driving. We had a green light that was right in front of our turn lane, separate from the main green light for the lanes going straight. Billy assumed this meant a protected turn, but he was wrong. 

I'd heard of things going in slow motion during traumatic events, but this was my first experience with this phenomenon. 

I saw that a car was coming at us, and then I heard the bang. Things slowed down, and I watched the hood folding up towards the windshield. The windshield shattered. I can remember thinking, "If it comes in any closer Billy and Christian are dead." And it came closer. I was sure my friends were goners. 

I felt a sharp pain at the top of my skull and the world returned to normal speed. I hadn't been aware that I was moving toward the buckling hood as it was moving toward me. No seat belt sent me flying forward and up until I banged my head on the roof of the car. I sat there, dazed for what felt like a couple of minutes, hearing a faint buzzing but nothing else, and then Billy and Christian opened their doors. They were alive. 

I climbed out and I felt okay. I noticed blood trickling from Christian's ear and this scared the hell out of me. I made him sit down. When the ambulance driver arrived we asked him to look at Christian right away. We were relieved to find out the blood came from a tear on where Chris' earlobe attached to his face. He was fine, but the transported him to the hospital by ambulance to be looked at just in case. I went to the doctor with my dad that night as he was concerned that I might have a concussion. If I did it was a mild one. 

Christian got a couple of thousand bucks to sign an agreement that he wouldn't sue Billy's insurance company. Damn. I should've taken a ride in the ambulance. 

Keith Lowell Jensen (that's my reference number, I'll try to get arty)

Oh, um, no, it didn't change the way I drive, only the way I'm a passenger. No more driving with Billy, and seatbelts at all times. 

I was leaving for work and was running almost-late and so was driving out of my yard to the dirt road I lived on while arranging the things in the passenger seat next to me. I overestimated how much I needed to whip the car around and hit a tree. I saw it just before i happened, but couldn't stop it. Very embarrassing, very expensive to fix. Ended up just getting a new car, actually.

I hit a telephone pole after skidding on ice last winter. It was snowing a bit, so I was driving slowly (15 or 16 mph), but as I came around the curve in front of my house, I hit a patch of ice, slid into the ditch, and swung my left rear door into the pole. There was another car oncoming, so I freaked out and didn't steer to stop skidding. You can't convince me that steering away from the ditch and toward another car is a good idea.

Also, the incident happened right in front of my house. My parents saw the whole thing.

I came out of the experience with $500 in damage to my door, a minor phobia of icy roads, and an abiding desire to move somewhere without seasons.

I bought my first brand new car back in November. I looked for over a year until I found the car I really loved. It's a 2006 Toyota Camry. I made plans to take it for its first Oil change on a Saturday. The Friday before, I woke up late for work so I hurried out the door. I got about 2 1/2 blocks from my house, and traffic came to a stop. I sat there for about 4 minutes when all of a sudden I went jerking forward. Some lady came into the lane behind me and saw the light turn green down the road and ran into me. She never even hit her brakes! She hit me hard enough that it bent all the metal from my trunk in and I had to tie it down with Bunji cords so that I could take it to the repair shop. Needless to say, I was without my brand new baby for over 3 weeks. I don’t think it makes me drive differently, since I did nothing wrong, but it makes me paranoid now. Anytime I come to a stop now, I watch everyone that comes up behind me.

Some lady stopped short, and my front bumper didn't. Lesson? Watch out when stupid people are driving. Actually, just watch out. Stupid people are always driving.

I was driving too fast while it was raining (about 70 mph). I hit a patch of standing water and started fishtailing. I couldn't get back in control of my car and ran off the road sideways. My car slid up an embankment, and since I was going sideways, my car got caught in the mud and flipped over three times. When it finally stopped, I was surprised that I was alive and unhurt. I was wearing my seat belt. A friend of mine later had a similar acciden, but he wasn't wearing his seatbelt. He is in a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

I have never been a driver in a car accident. I am 31 years old.

I will relate what happened to a friend of mine.

He was accellerating on to a freeway onramp near his home - the same onramp he's used a thousand times before (and since). But THIS time, a set of concrete road dividers (you know, the ones about 3 feet high they use temporarily on roads) had been strewn about, encroaching onto the regular lane and restricting it. He had to make a sudden correction, swerving *into* the turn... and his car flipped. Seriously, it rolled over at least twice. All it takes to roll your car is to accellerate hard, get into a long turn, and then suddenly steer into the turn hard. What He Learnt: just because you've driven the same stretch of roadway a Brazilian times before, and know it as well as the back of your hand, doesn't mean that THIS time it's going to be the same (or safe). You simply cannot take road conditions or configurations for granted, ever. 

I was driving along a road that changed from residential to commercial just before intersecting with a major street. A car was backing out of parking for a bar (the parking space was perpendicular to the street I was on) and didn't even check to see if anyone was coming. I hit the brake and honked my horn, but not before his rear bumper dented my door. It only left a little blemish in the paint, and I didn't feel it was worth reporting because my car was old, my deductible was high, and I figured a case could be made that I was going too fast. Lesson: Don't go too fast on residential-ish streets, and watch out for businessmen leaving bars after lunch.


i was driving on I-5 on christmas eve and was really getting into my music when i looked to the car in front of me and slammed on my brakes. luckly the pitch of my '90 vw fox was enough to slide under the vans bumper. now i always keep my eyes two cars ahead

My girlfriend was driving the car with me and her sister in the car. This was also her first day driving, having received her licence only earlier that day. This was also a brand new car with about 300 miles on it.

She was going to make a left turn in a major intersection, and had a green arrow. A Police Car ran the red light (no sirens or lights on) and smashed the hell out of her car. The cops knew it was their fault, and offered some compensation in addition to a new car.

The lesson?... I guess its better to be hit by a police officer than a regular car. Or drive defensively.

I've been in three 'incidents:'
1) A woman in the left lane changed lanes quickly to avoid hitting the person in front of her
that she was avoiding watching. I had to swerve hard right into a Wendy's curb. She called her 
husband, and he talked her into just leaving. Damage was minimal.
2) I was at a stop at the red light in a left turn lane. A guy behind thought the light turned 
green, and he bumped me. No real damage done.
3) There was a light I had to turn at everyday at one particular job. During the Spring, the 
Sun was right behind it and noone can see what color the light was. While waiting, I looked 
into the rear view and saw a young woman come barreling down at my read end. It hurt, and the 
rear bumper was transformed. She only got out of it because I did not have insurance at the time.

My first (and only, knock on wood) car accident was at a gas station. it was a rental car, too, that i wasn't supposed to be driving. i was backing into a spot, going about three miles an hour, looking over my right shoulder. i hear this really faint honking, so i slow down to like, one mile per hour. *bump* i hit a guy's front bumper who was coming at me or something from my left side. oh shit. friend jumps out of the car, i'm sitting there in disbelief freaking out. guy that i hit already had his cell phone out. my friend talked to him, reassured him that we were both insured drivers, gave him our information, addresses, etc, told him we'd pay to replace the BMW bumper i'd dented. the guy never called (replacement cost would have been around a hundred bucks - my friend drives BMWs and called his guy at the dealership.) i definitely got LUCKY there.

lessons learned:

don't drive rental cars you're not allowed to drive

never back up into a gas station spot.

never back up at all if you can possibly avoid it.

don't tell mom/your insurance company you crashed a rental car.

Crash no.1; I was attempting a U-turn in my 1967 VW Kombi when I was struck on the rear 1/4 causing the van to flip onto it's side.
Crash no.2; I was driving on the freeway at 100k/h in my 1967 Chrysler Valiant when 2 lanes became 1. the guy in front moved over into my lane & slowed down to 60 k/h. I hit the brakes & slid straight up his rear.
Crash no 3. I was driving in my father in law's 1984 Mitsubishi Sigma when & woman turned right, right accross my path. I just slammed straight into her.
Crash no 4; I was driving a bus & had to stop for a broken down car. A semi-trailer rammed into my rear.
I've also bumped into a lot of stuff, but they don't count (much).

One crash I had was when my friend was changing my radio station, and she rested her hand on my gear shift. She shifted into neutral, and I looked down to shift back into drive, and the car in front of me had stopped to make a left turn. I managed to get almost off the highway, so my left front bumper hit his right rear bumper. Don't ever rest your hand on a gear shift!

The other crash I had was completely not my fault. My black car was parked in my friend's very dark driveway, and her boyfriend was leaving and tried to peel out and show off, and he backed into my car. ARGH!

No specific story, I just nearly get slaughtered by a motor vehicle on a daily basis.

Car + Bicycle = Car + bloody pulp.

Watch for bicycles! Please! I don't wanna be a bloody pulp :/

I had a 1997 Dodge Neon. It was the first brand new car I had ever bought. I was driving to work in Washington DC bumper to bumper stop and go traffic. It was morning so the sun was coming up and shining right in my eyes. I was behind a van so I tried to get as close to it as I could to have his roofline block the sun from my eyes. As I inched up to him to block the sun I bumped into him. He reached out his window and waved it off. About 5 minutes later with the sun still in my eyes I tried again to get close enough to him to block the sun and bumped him again - this time a little harder. This time he reached out the window and gave me a well deserved middle finger. 
I learned to change lanes after bumping someone and also to drive with sunglasses on. 

Both accidents I've been in were not my fault. Both were caused by people turning left in front of me when they didn't have the right-of-way. The second time, the woman completely blew through a STALE red light. I mean, I already know not to gun it the second the light turns green because some people run the red going the other way, but people turning on red when it's clearly red and has been that way for awhile? Good lord. 

Car survived accident 1, car was totaled in accident 2. 

I guess what this has taught me is to watch out for people turning left in front of you -- I do tend to look at the cars in the opposite left-turn lane when going through intersections. Still, I wish the second accident had never happened because all it did was make me MORE paranoid that every driver in the world is an idiot. 

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


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July 22nd, 2006 

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