Essay On Learning From A Car Accident
My first -- and hopefully only -- car accident was nearly a tragedy. As I cruised along Highway 54 near my house, a burgundy-colored Saab Outback screeched to a sudden halt directly in front of my car. Driven by a plump, middle-aged woman, she stopped her car (as I learned later) to turn into a driveway where a new yellow Chevy Camaro was parked. I learned tow lessons from this incident: to never take for granted what another driver will do on the road, and that one may bear the brunt of those things which are not entirely their fault.
As I mentioned, I was within about one mile of my house, trialing a small station wagon when its wheels braked to a sudden stop, squealing. Its tires skidded, and screamed. My vehicle was in violation of the two-second rule. That is, my car trailed the vehicle very closely, but I had followed other cars closely in the past down the same highway. This time, however, was entirely different. As the Saab came to an abrupt stop, I felt my heart race, and pound nearly out of my chest, as I braced my body for the inevitable. The inevitable arrived within a couple of milliseconds, as I slammed my brakes but skidded into the rear bumper of the Saab in front of me.
Immediately, I felt the inertia of the crash as my body moved at least six inches towards the steering wheel. Luckily, I was wearing my seatbelt, and was not crushed by the steering wheel. However, I knew the accident was bad. As I came to a stop, it was primarily the woman's bumper who absorbed the impact of my vehicle. I shook with panic as I pushed open my door to discern the damage from the accident. Immediately, she also jumped out of her car. I said to her, "Are you alright? I am really, really sorry. Is your car alright? Are you alright? Are you sure?" She appeared okay. She asked if I was okay as well. I was shaking like a leaf, but I was able to walk and was left uninjured by the accident. However, as I observed the wreckage, I noticed that it was all from my car. The bumper lay in a heap of fiberglass and plastic upon the highway, and the bumper bar was bent in half, its midpoint poking through the radiator. The radiator hissed violently, and bright-green, acrid-smelling coolant leaked from its underside. My car was a goner, but fortunately everyone's lives were spared.
I observed her car as well. There was no damage whatsoever. The towball on her hitch was left unscathed, and in fact, was what cost my front end its existence, as it was battered and beaten. Luckily, the driver of the Saab was very nice. She was also panicky as she held her hand tightly against her heaving chest. She was very concerned about me. We did not have to call the Sheriff's Department, as a witness to the accident took care of that. The police arrived to the scene quickly, sirens blaring and "berries" flashing. A female officer exited the vehicle, and asked if we needed an ambulance. She eyed up the damage of both of our vehicles, and told the woman she was lucky, as she absorbed all of the impact but both her and her Saab were left unscathed in front of the wreckage of my car's hissing front end. After we rolled my car out of the road and into a neighbor's driveway, I discovered that the woman had not signaled to turn left (as witnesses told me), stopped on a dime (to see the yellow Camaro), and was rear-ended by my car, as a result of her unpredictable attempt to turn into oncoming traffic.
I brought away two lessons from this experience. Although the accident was not entirely my fault, I was cited for "following too closely". I also learned to pay attention to vehicles on the road, and never take their driving skills for granted -- as I did on the fateful day I lost my car. Ironically, I learned just one more lesson: Saabs are one of the best-built (and perhaps the safest) cars in the world.