So, you just survived your first car accident. No one is hurt, but your life will never be the same. I just got into my first ever car accident recently and let me tell you, it has really changed things for me.
I hit someone as I was pulling out of a tight parking space on a side street. I remember looking behind me to make sure there was no one coming and as I was pulling out of the space, there was someone's passenger's side door meeting my front bumper. The sound was horrifying. Luckily, my car and his car were still running so we were able to pull out of the way to avoid another accident with another vehicle.
I got out of my car and was very shaken up and dizzy. The person I hit was very nice and made sure I was OK. We made a report with the police and we were both able to drive home. A week later I am still feeling the effects, as I am sure most people do after their first car accident. Here are some thoughts that are going through my mind that I am sure will resonate with some people. Hopefully, you won't ever have to deal with this, but just remember if you do, these thoughts are normal.
1. "Oh my gosh, I actually hit someone."
Whether or not the accident was your fault, the fact is: the accident happened. You cannot believe it. You wonder how dealing with the police is going to go and if the person will chew you out.
2. "Good thing I have car insurance."
I'm so thankful I have insurance. Seriously, I had just gotten everything finalized just a couple of weeks before the accident. You can get in big trouble for not having insurance, especially if the police get involved. Even though they did not cover repairs, I'm still thankful I had it.
3. "How in the world am I ever going to be able to drive normally again?''
Just in the last couple of days I have been super scared to leave the house - afraid that I'll be in another accident. I'm much more paranoid of driving now and, sometimes it gets so bad, I really don’t want to leave the house. Luckily, I've been doing OK.
4. "My mom is going to be so mad."
Seriously, that is a thought I had. I thought my mom would be really mad at me. But luckily, my mother was more concerned about my well-being than the car.
5. "Someone could have really gotten hurt."
I think about the way I hit the person and realize how much more worse it could have been. I could have been hitting the gas harder, they could have been going faster or there could have been another car coming. So many things went better than they should have.
6. "I am going to look 10 times before pulling out of a spot now."
I know I looked before I pulled out of the spot and then hit the other car, but now I look a lot more and a lot longer.
7. "Everyone is going to think that I'm a horrible driver now."
Riding around town without your front bumper looks pretty bad. I have had to learn that the accident does not reflect my overall experience as a driver. I can still be the good driver I was before.
8. "Simple driving things are really tedious now."
When I'm driving now, everything makes me nervous: turning, slowing down and even just sitting at stoplights. I'm really paranoid that I'll get into another accident.
9. "I got really lucky."
I cannot stress that enough. The person I hit was so nice to me and the police officers were really nice to me. I could have hit someone that was a jerk to me, and most importantly, no one was hurt.
10. "People die in car accidents every day."
I know, a really extreme thought to think but, for real, it sometimes has kept me awake at night.
11. "Accidents happen. My car still runs, their car still runs and everyone is OK."
Among all the negativity, the most important thought to have is the best one and that's remembering how things went and how it could have been worse. Acceptance of the accident is very key in healing.