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What To Do When Involved in a Fender Bender

by Hanna Houck

Driving is one of the most dangerous activities one participates in, yet we do it almost every day (some better than others). Even if you are the most careful driver out there, you can never protect yourself from the actions of other drivers. Due to this, you will most likely be in a fender bender once in your life.

My first car accident happened a few weeks ago. I was stopped at a light and someone ran into the back of my pickup truck.

First Emotional Response: “What the heck just happened?”

You are jarred and thrown forward. There was no warning or any signs that something like that is about to happen. The first thought to come to your head is probably “Are my parents going to kill me or will they make me ride a donkey for the rest of my life instead of a car?”

Second Emotional Response: Panic.

I have no idea what to do. I am 17 years old, I can not tell a policy number from a vehicle registration number,  I have a car stuck to the tow hitch on my truck, and I am two minutes from being late to school(most intense fear).

Third Emotional Response: “I should probably get out and do the responsible exchange of information with the other drivers.”

Apparently you cannot just sit in your car and hope that this is not real and this is just a dream where you are playing Grand Theft Auto and someone crashes into you.

I discovered the location of my hazard lights and hopped out into the cold and foggy air. The woman that hit the back of my car looked visibly annoyed at the fact that I was a teenager, because who wants to deal with a scared and inexperienced teenage driver in a car accident? Apparently no one.

I did not know the proper procedure for after an accident occurs. So obviously I called for help, and by help I do not mean the cops(which seems like the logical thing to do), I called my father.

After five minutes of convincing him that I did not cause the accident (a task that is more difficult than negotiating peace in Syria), he told me to have someone call the cops and take pictures.

Thank goodness for my self-proclaimed iPhone photographer status because I was able to photograph the minimal damage to my vehicle in a nearly professional fashion.

Fourth Emotional Response: Hysteria.

Maybe the initial shock had worn off , maybe the fact that I had not had my coffee yet hit me, or maybe the realization that I was officially late to school was too much to handle. Whatever it was I began to sob on the side of the road waiting for the police and my parents.

Fifth Emotional Response: Acceptance and Acknowledgement.

You have to realize at some point that there is nothing you can do to fix the fact that you were in an accident. Yes, it is not an enjoyable surprise in your daily routine, but things could be worse.

Yes, you are late to school. One tardy probably(hopefully)(maybe) will not doom you so calm down.

Car accidents occur on the daily. The fact that you were apart of one is not unlikely. Follow the procedure laid out by the police and insurance company.

On the back of your insurance card, which is most likely located in your glove compartment, there are usually directions that walk you through the accident scene procedure.  

If not, they are as followed;

  1. Move your car to the side of the road to prevent any further car accidents.
  2. Exchange important information such as  name, address, phone number, insurance company, policy number, driver license number and license plate number for the driver and the owner of each vehicle.
  3. Do not admit fault to the cops or other drivers even if you think it was your fault.
  4. Photograph the accident scenes and find witnesses.

(http://www.edmunds.com/car-safety/what-to-do-after-a-car-accident.html)

Accidents happen all the time, but making good decisions while behind the wheel can decrease your chances of being in an accident.