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

Are you gonna post a best-of when you get enough entries? Reading the text files is kind of hard!

Don't drive angry. The two accidens I've been in were both angry. Once, I stopped at a stop sign and couldn't really see what was coming from the right because of a bush, but pulled out anyway. BAM. The other time, I backed out from a parking space across two lanes of (empty) road into the parking lot of a gas station and right into a pole. BAM. Don't drive angry.

Oh, one more. We were once at the Bel Air on Arden & Eastern when the lady in front of us suddenly started backing up. Dad laid down on the horn but still she kept coming, until she relatively gently tapped the front of his truck with her car. Why didn't the horn get her attention? The driver was deaf! Luckily, no damage. 

But still, even though this happened, I don't think everyone should assume other drivers are deaf. Probably they're just on a cell phone. - Michaela

I just started hopefully I won't have any...

One that does not appear there, however, is the worst of all, because it was the only one that was my fault. I was sitting at the roundabout, a fantastically stupid four-way stop, eight-way merge nightmare going to work one morning, and the sun was rising right in my driver's side window. The lady in the car in front of me had been sitting for some time and finally made her move, rolling forward. At that moment, the sun's glare caught my eye and I took my foot off the brake. I rolled forward and BAM! she was still there. And now my car had damaged hers. Mine, an 88 Jetta, had a tiny ding in the hood. Her left rear panel was crushed in like the Incredible Hulk had punched it. The tire couldn't even spin in it. I was totally freaked out and crying because I had never been at fault in an accident before and didn't know what to do. No one was hurt, but I did get picked up by my fiance and stayed home that day. I felt so guilty. For some reason, the officer did not count me at fault, I guess because I was blinded by the sun or she had started moving or something, but I lucked out. I learned to never take anyone's forward momentum as a sign that they are actually committing to an action, and always be prepared to stop. I rarely exceed 60, and I always drive in the slow lane. A Granny-driver at 32... LOL ...Kerry

As a new driver, I was turning right out of a Blockbuster at night onto a fairly major road. I saw an opening as a car was turning into the same place I was leaving, and made my turn. But I didn't turn wide enough to avoid the black Lincoln Navigator parked illegally across half the driveway, because I didn't want to hit traffic in the other lane of the road and the guy turning into my driveway almost ran right into me. The rear driver's side door of my beautiful, classic green '96 Ford Windstar was ruined. The scratched paint of the Navigator's fender cost $1000 to fix. By the time a cop came, the owner of the Navigator had pulled away from the driveway and insisted that she was completely legally parked when I hit her. Good thing we didn't go through insurance. The moral of the story is "be a lighthouse," like my dad used to say, and watch every angle before making a move. - Jen B, NY

It was snowing hard and the Caltrans snow plow, coming in the opposite direction, was in the middle of the road! Taking my lane! We went off the road, down the mini-cliff, but the snow was so deep it cushioned my 4 wheel drive van like a little sleeping baby. No damage.

Okay so this isn't a crash story, but it's an almost crash story. I'm a very new driver, and I still have my permit. My dad and I we practicing and he told me to go up this very steep hill. It was incredibly steep, almost straight up. I went up it no problem, but then he asked me to make a sharp left. Well, I had never taken a sharp turn, but I tried anyways. I then got my gas pedal and break pedal mixed up and pushed really hard on the gas. In two seconds my life flashed before me, my dad grabbed the wheel, lots of dirty words were yelled, and I came literally 1 foot from driving on a cliff. 

The day after it snowed (it hardly ever snows in this part of Oregon) I was driving from the gym to my parent's house with my 1 1/2 year old in the back seat and decided to take the back roads to see how pretty the snow looked on the country roads. I hit a patch of slush about the size of a dinner plate and skidded right into a ditch, ramming into the area where the ditch ended and someone's driveway began.
I learned that back roads are not a good idea on snow days!

I was driving on a curvy, hilly interstate in Amarillo, totally going the speed limit and focused on the road. I came around a curve and all of a sudden there was a metal ladder right on the road in front of me. I couldn't or didn't want to swerve to avoid it, not totally sure why, but I braked and ran over the ladder. Then this guy behind me hit me going about 45 or 50. Damaged the "rear bumper cover" to my new Corolla. Cost about $550 (just over the deductible. the douche didn't have insurance, and he fled the scene!) Two years later I am STILL TERRIFIED of bumping into somebody, sideswiping them or having them rear-end me. I don't want anybody near me.

A near miss changed by driving attitude. As I got ready to pull out of a parking lot, I looked to the left while stopping on the sidewalk. I looked to my right, and there were two joggers about 15 feet from my car on the right. Had I been five seconds late, I probably would have hit them. Now, I always stop before the sidewalk, and I am more cautious in general.

I don't drive.

My older sister was turning left from a residential street onto a fast moving two lane road. There was a middle turn lane so it was a pretty wide street. A lttle before where the street she was on met up with the fast road was an akward light that made the traffic come in heavy spurts. She was pulling out during one of the empty times. Looked left, looked right, looked left again and started to pull out from her complete stop. Suddenly this guy on one of those ninja honda motorcycles comes speeding from a street across and more to the right from her. She slams on her brakes (she want going very fast at all anyway) but he planned on her to continue pulling out. Now mind you, she was driving my dad's large truck. The man's motorcycle hit the front left side of the truck and his body continued around the left where his head collided with the step bar. He was thankfully wearing a helmet which saved his life and kept him from getting really hurt but he was without protective leather clothes and was badly scraped from the asphalt. My sister had only had her lisence for a year or so and this almost put her straight off of driving. Our insurance shot up. There were many witnesses who helped porve that my sister was not the one at fault but our family kept in touch with the man until (finally) his family made contact with him. It was pretty scary. I was at a friend's house when I got the call from my mother that she had been in an accident; that was all i was told too. So now she is EXTRA EXTRA careful when looking for cars and especially motorcycles while pulling out.

I was backing out of my carport (a driveway, plus a covered porch) going to high school, like I had done hundreds of times before. Usually I back out until the edge of the driveway, until I get to the cul-de-sac where I look for cars/pedestrians and then I'm on my way. What I should have been looking for was my dads car parked 2 feet behind me. Neither car was damaged, but I was awake for my first class that day. I learned that even routine things can change.

overcorrecting on the freeway = hitting the side wall of a bridge at 70 mph.

I tend to speed, but I was coming back from a dinner out with a few friends in the car, so I was actually being particularly careful going 60-65 mph on the freeway when I see brake lights ahead of me. So I flip my blinker and look over my shoulder to get around when I hear my friend say "UM," and look ahead to see an Infiniti (and a car ahead of it) dead stopped. I nailed the brakes but went into their back end going at least 45. The Infiniti pulled off the freeway, and the car ahead of it took off. My car had its front end bashed in something awful, and being dead stopped in the middle of 7 lanes of speeding traffic is pretty damn scary, but someone up there likes me, because my pitiful little Honda Civic kept on running long enough for me to get over to the shoulder. Worst part? My brother had just wrecked his car the previous night. Oh, and my dad had let my insurance lapse and didn't tell me. So I got sued too, since the car that had made the Infiniti stop took off and it was therefore my fault. And since I was actually being careful, I didn't really learn a lesson, other than "shit happens," and make sure your insurance is paid up.

I learned a lot about fixing cars during the 6 months it took me to rebuild mine, though!

never assume that all cars brake the same. I had gotten used to driving my Audi, and when I drove my friend's honda I rear-ended someone because the brakes were much less sensitive, and I underestimated the amount of time/space I would need to stop in time.

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


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July 22nd, 2006 

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