Well, my daughter has had her car for 3 months and was in her first car accident. It wasn’t her fault, but it scared her none-the-less. She was stopped at a stop sign — not even pulled up to it completely — when a car turning into the intersection cut it short and clipped her front end. The lady driving the other car apparently had just picked up the new car from the dealer and was on her way home when this happened. The lady turned left into the intersecting road and didn’t take into account that there was a car “parked” there. The funny part was that when she bumped my daughter’s car on the driver’s corner bumper with her front door, she stopped and then started to drive again and continued to scrape her own car all through the back door. So essentially most of the side of the other driver’s car was scraped.
This was the first accident my daughter has ever been in or close to, so she was scared and hoping the other driver knew what to do. Imagine her surprise when the other lady got out of her car and said, “I don’t know what to do!”. So, being the responsible person she is, my daughter told her they have to exchange information. She dutifully wrote down her name, phone number, make and model of car, and insurance company and gave it to the lady and also got the other lady’s information. THEN my daughter called me and told me about it and that she was on the way home.
Fortunately, there was very little damage done to my daughter’s car. The paint on the bumper is scratched. I checked to make sure the plastic was not cracked or broken, as it is difficult to fix and even more difficult to find a new bumper. Then I checked to make sure there was no unseen damage, such as the bumper bracket being pushed in or bent. All was well. I never even thought to ask my daughter if she was ok. My first question was “where are you?” I was going to rush to her aid. However, that was not needed. She handled it like a pro — even better than the adult on the scene.
In talking the incident over with my daughter, it dawned on me that we had never really discussed what to do in an instance like this, so we went over a few things: 1) get the name and ADDRESS of the other person. She got the name but no address. 2) get the YEAR of the car, as well as make and model. 3) take a picture of the accident scene before moving any cars. 4) take a picture of the damage done to both your car and the other car. 5) sketch out the situation showing the road, intersections, and positions of vehicles.
My daughter was worried about the car behind her getting around them, so she moved her car off to the side of the road before exchanging information. Don’t do that! Take pictures of positions and the road conditions before moving vehicles! Then of course, document the damage done to both cars just in case the other person tries to come back and say it was worse than it was or that it was your fault. Cell phone cameras are wonderful for things like that. Not everyone carries a camera around with them all the time.
All in all, for the first time ever being in that situation, I thought my daughter handled it well. It did remind me that a review of insurance issues might be in order so that if anything happened again, she would be prepared and not intimidated. So just in case you are ever in an accident, remember what you’re supposed to do!