Beep beep smash.

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Sort of like this, except for all of it.  (image via pixabay)

Sort of like this, except for all of it. (image via pixabay)

A week ago I had my first car accident in twenty years.

That sentence makes it sound dramatic. It’s not. We were exceptionally lucky and had nothing more than some paint rubbed onto our front bumper. In fact, my first accident — the one I had during driver’s ed — was much worse.

Driver’s ed?! OH YEAH, it was during driver’s ed. Really, that should have been the end of my time behind the wheel. If you have an accident during driver’s ed, shouldn’t that make you automatically disqualified to drive a car? Shouldn’t that be a sign that maybe this driving deal just isn’t your thing? Well, I did keep driving and turned out to be not so bad at it (shut up, Michael.) And in my defense, that accident was NOT my fault.

I was driving down the busy streets of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, with my instructor  and my twin sister, Allison. I felt like I was finally getting the hang of it. Feeling confident. Feeling good. Then I made a right and saw, halfway down the block, a double-parked car.

DUH DUH DUUUUUUUUUUH.

This presents a challenge for a young driver, because those Brooklyn streets are only so wide and if a car is double-parked you have to squeeze between it and the parked cars on the other side. So I steeled myself, started going around the car, and all of a sudden the woman in the passenger seat opened up her car door and started getting out. Right in front of me.

This picture came up on photo pin when I searched for "car accident." I am intrigued enough that I want to share it. Was this cat in a car accident? Ddi this cat cause a car accident? is this cat named Car Accident? The world will never know. photo credit: e³°°° via photopin cc

This picture came up on Photo Pin when I searched for “car accident.” Was this cat in a car accident? Did this cat cause a car accident? Is this cat named Car Accident? The world will never know. photo credit: e³°°° via photopin cc

Now, as a now experienced driver, my course of action would be to slam on the brakes and raise my hands in the air in a “what gives?” kind of motion. (That is my go-to move when people do weird things in their cars.) But as a new driver I did what my young, nubile instincts told me to do, which was to get  the heck away from her. So I threw the wheel to the right and kept on trucking, scraping the sides of three or four parked cars and taking the side mirror off one of them. My instructor slammed on her passenger side brakes before we took out the rest of the block, and then (like a good New Yorker) got out of the car and started screaming at the woman, who screamed back at her, and then all of the neighbors started coming out of their houses and sitting on their stoops to take it all in. It was quite the scene.

Meanwhile, I spent that time sitting behind the wheel in shock saying, “I’m going to die. I’m going to die” because I don’t over-react much.When my mother came and picked me up, I remember lying down across the backseat of the car weeping and insisting that I would never drive again. I wanted to “select out,” as they say.

Of course that didn’t last and I became a good, safe driver (shut UP, Mike) who never had a single accident until last week. And this one? Also not my fault. A woman blew through a yield sign and I, with my husband and kids inside the car, braked hard enough that we just managed to hit her back passenger side enough to swap some paint, instead of t-boning her like we easily could have. The kids, you’ll be pleased to know, were completely unscathed by the whole thing. In fact, after the accident they said, “Why are we pulling over?” Like they had no idea that anything out of the ordinary had happened.

This does not say much for my day-to-day driving skills.

But ignore them. And ignore my husband. And most other people who have ridden in a car with me.

I am an excellent driver.

(p.s. my mom agrees with me so suck on THAT, Mike!)

Author: Meredith Bland

Meredith likes to write the funny at her blog, Pile of Babies (http://www.pileofbabies.com).

7 Comments

  1. HA! I was just thinking about my behind the wheel experience yesterday! I remember how scary my instructor was, he was known as “coach” and did something with the boys teams. whatever. I believe he yelled at them. I really didn’t like being yelled at, in fact I still don’t. Anyway he told me to switch lanes, which i did, turn signal and all. All except for the head check part. He yelled at me. You told me to switch lanes and I did. Didn’t you look? Why would you tell me to switch lanes if there was a car there? (there wasn’t) So I fought the tears and told my dad about it when I got home. My dad who loves me more than his own life told me he would have yelled at me too. Gotta check that blind spot! Lesson learned, check the blind spot.

    As for Car Accident the kitty? Maybe it was a car accident that caused the dental issue? Maybe he is psychicly causing car accidents, always seen at the scene?? He is kinda a little squinty like he is trying to make something happen….

    PS. I am sure you are a fine driver, after all your mom says so and we all know moms never lie! ;)

  2. Glad no one was hurt. Accidents can be awful, ya know?
    I remember driving down NW 23rd in Portland and gently tearing off half the cars’ (parked alongside the trendy street) side view mirrors. Thunk, thunk, thunk, thitty-thunk. It was like high-fiving at the end of a little league game.

  3. My wife is taking her driving test this Saturday to get her very first driver’s license… she’s 29. She went through driver’s ed when she was 16, but her parents adamantly refused to let her drive their car. She’s nervous as heck, but I keep reminding her that she drives fine (albeit illegally), and I even taught her to drive a manual. I guess if you add the word “test” to anything, it’s time to spaz out.

  4. I’ve been in 2 accidents. One was totally *NOT* my fault, the other? Sort of my fault in the not-anticipating-some-idiot way.

    1st one- Stopped at a stop sign at a semi-blind intersection (to my right was a berm on which railroad tracks sat, and the cross-street came up and over without a stop sign). I checked, I double checked I started to cross the intersection. I was very nearly through the intersection when a truck came barreling up and over the railroad tracks to my right and into the intersection. Because I was very nearly out of the intersection he only contacted the rear quarter panel of my car. But he did so hard and fast enough that i did a beautiful 360 in the intersection before coming to a stop. That was fun (also HUGE learning experience. You should question what’s up when the words out of hte other drivers mouth are not “are you okay” but “I *just* put a new bumper on my truck!!!!”).

    2nd- I was going into downtown seattle to see the ballet with the best car I’ve ever owned. We were coming up to the pesky express lanes. They were closed so like any intelligent driver I moved over well in advance of them and backed off from the car in front of me more than normal, anticipating a car cutting in at the last moment as they are wont to do in that stretch. What I *didn’t* anticipate was some jerk cutting in 6 cars up at the very last moment and the 6 (SIX!) cars he cut off coming to a full and complete stop on I-5. Thank goodness i had that extra following distance because I was able to slam on my breaks and swerve enough that I localized the damage. Unfortunately I still hit the car in front of me hard enough to total my car. **sighs**

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