LIFE - My First Car Accident

by - February 15, 2019


This past Monday, I got into my first car accident - it was something that I didn’t expect. Of course, no one expects them, that’s why they’re called accidents. But still, I just didn’t think it would happen to me until much later in life, if at all.

On my morning commute to work, I made an extremely bad judgement call when trying to merge lanes on the highway and collided my new car with a package car, aka parcel delivery trucks. The moment it happened, my mind and body went into full out panic mode. I stopped the car, and sat still for a couple seconds.

Then my mind started internally screaming:
What the fuck just HAPPENED?
What the FUCK did I just do?
WHAT THE FUCK DO I DO NOW?

My first instinct was to let someone know. I immediately called my fiancé and started wailing in incoherent, high pitched tones. I couldn’t even cry. I was in too much shock to cry. My fiancé thought I was hurt, but he got his answer when the driver rushed to my door and asked all the right questions:

“Are you alright? Are you hurt at all? What happened?”

I furiously nodded my head and managed to squeak my response.

"Yes, I'm okay. No, I'm not hurt."

And then my blame train came in full speed for the last question. Even though my mind knew that I was in the wrong, I still had the urge to blame someone else.

“Oh my god! Why didn’t you let me in? MY SHOULDER WAS ENDING! WHY DIDN’T YOU STOP AND LET ME IN!”

“Sweetie, I didn’t even see you. This truck has a really big blind spot. I swear I didn’t mean to hit you. Are you okay? Are you hurt? Okay, let’s both pull over where it’s safe, and figure this all out. Okay? Can you do that?”

I couldn’t believe it. I just caused an accident, and flipped out on this stranger, and his main concern was that I was okay. A sense of calming washed over me, I hung up my phone and I followed his directions. We pulled over and he told me to wait in the passenger seat of my car to keep safe from oncoming traffic, and to keep warm, while he assessed the damages and made a call - presumably to his superior. When he was done, he hopped into my driver’s seat, paperwork in hand.

“I’m so sorry. This is my first accident. I don’t know what to do. I’m really sorry. It’s my first accident. I swear I thought I had enough room to merge.”

“Hey, hey. It’s okay. I understand. Accidents happen. Don’t worry, it happens. As long as you’re not hurt. Okay, first, we have to swap information – driver’s license information, ownership, and phone numbers. Do you have all that? Okay great. Now, there are no damages on my car, so I’m okay, but there is definitely some damage on yours. Take a photo of the damages on your car, and one of mine for the license plate - but be careful of the oncoming cars.”

We swapped information, assuring me the whole time that everything was going to be alright. Then he followed me out and watched as I took the photos, making sure I was safe from the oncoming traffic. After all this, I still couldn’t believe I had hit such a nice person.

“Thank you so much for helping me Thank you for making sure I was okay. I wouldn’t have known what to do otherwise. You’re a really nice person and I’m really sorry that this happened.”

“Sweetie, like I said, it’s okay. This happens. It sucks, but it happens. Just let me know what you decide to do, in case I have to do something on my end, okay? I just don't want to be charged for something I didn't do. Now, are you okay to drive?”

He could probably tell by my facial expression that I really didn’t want to get behind the wheel, but I had to. Worst of all, I had to merge, two lanes to get where I needed to go – something I just lost total confidence in doing.

“Of course, I’ll be fully transparent with my decision and let you know as soon as possible. And uh, yeah... I’m okay to drive… But how are we going to get onto the road?... I don’t feel comfortable merging lanes right now…”

“It’s okay. I’ll guide you out. Which way are you going, left or right?”

“Left.”

“Okay, I’ll come out first, and when I come out, I’ll wait for you to come out ahead of me, okay?”

“Okay. Thank you, I'd really appreciate that.”

He helped me merge two lanes over, and once I was in, he merged back right toward his own direction.

--

At the end of the day, I sent him a lengthy text about how I was at the Collision Reporting Centre to file a report, and that I was going to make a claim through insurance because the damages were too costly. After all that typing, his only response was, “Hey, are you okay?”. Confused, I called him to make sure he understood my message. To my surprise, he was still working and couldn’t give a full response, but he just wanted to make sure I was okay.

There I sat at the Collision Reporting Centre, filling in my statement – what happened, how it happened, and information on the other driver and vehicle. Then I noticed it. It was his 34th birthday yesterday. Are you friggin' kidding me? I literally had a collision with a man who was pretty much working on his birthday, and not once did he get upset or frustrated with me or the situation. I was at a loss for words on how a stranger could be so patient, so kind, and so understanding.

Perhaps it’s because I haven’t witnessed much kindness, or because my perception of car accidents are more aggressive based on stories and cinema, or really, it's because I know I wouldn’t act half as decent of a person if the roles were reversed.

But whatever the case, I sat there and wished him a happy birthday, while simultaneously thanking fate for everything that happened that day.

Not for the accident itself, but for allowing my first accident happen with someone who calmed me down and looked after me rather than someone who would have squeezed out all of the tears my eyes had to offer. For love ones, friends, and colleagues who more about my health than the car, who tried their best to cheer me up, who checked up on me in the days following, and who gave me the time I needed to sort everything out. It's cheesy, I know. But sometimes, life gives you a reminder that it isn't so bad, even though it seems like it is.

This past Monday, I got into my first car accident, and I made a new friend - it was something that I didn’t expect.

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