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Watch Out For That...


Today, I was in a car accident. For the last three or so weeks, I've been receiving driving lessons from one of my husband's friends. Today was the second day I went on the road. Had it nailed too. I stopped at stopped signs, one traffic light and managed to keep a the car straight on a whinding road with hills. You see, at the end of April (this year) I had just gotten my Learner's Permit.

Anyways, back to the story. I was on my way back home, til I was ready to pull out into two-lane traffic. Had my turning signal on and everything. When I turned the wheel, I ended up in the wrong lane and swerved to the right to avoid an oncoming car. My instructor was telling me to brake, but panicked and accelerated instead. My instructor grabbed the wheel and by the time I hit the brakes, I collided with a tree. I put the car in park and started crying, cause I damaged the car...my husband's car. My instructor got out of the car to inspect the damage. I, personally, didn't want to see it. He'd called my hubby and told him what happened before we got back home. It was still drivable. By the time the car was parked by the curb, I ran inside the store and told him what happened and cried. It could have been worse. I was surprised he wasn't pissed at me. He was more understandable. He called the insurance company and we managed to get a rental car. As far as knowing the car is fixable or not, there are no updates on that. My hubby saw the car and said it had the indentions of the tree. Really damaged the front of the car.

Well, I'm not hurt and neither is the instructor. We were both wearing our seatbelts. Mentally, I don't think I'll get behind the wheel for a while.
flower4life flower4life 26-30, F 13 Responses Jun 7, 2010

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Hey Flower,<br />
I crashed a fence twice before, a pole when I reversed, and I am very lucky not to get more than that because actually I still did mistakes sometimes. And I am lucky that my car was not damaged badly because it was on very low speed. Anyway, it must be very traumatic for you because even a small crash made my heart beat like crazy.<br />
The truth is we never stop to learn because every time we drive, even when we got our license already, we need to be really careful because accident can still happen.<br />
But don't give up, driving is fun (that's what I personally think), and you will be much better with practice!

I really, really wish I was closer to you guys (you and your husband) and spend 3-4 hours with you in the car, identify your driving personality, analyze your driving habits and give you some pointers on your observational skills.<br />
<br />
As for the renting car, personally I don't believe is not a good idea. They will not rent it to you in the first place due to your driver status, and the person renting the car will not be able to ad you as a second driver. Thus you will drive the rental illegally and the insurance will decline any claim. <br />
<br />
Trust me you don't want one more worry .

No doubt is was a scary incident but that does not warrant a driving angst. Most of the will experience a delayed trauma, after a road incident. I once hit a cat (she just jumped in front of my car out of the bushes on the side of the road) and to tell you the truth, I had a taste of blood in my mouth for almost two weeks. <br />
<br />
Stress and fear of driving is a result of a latent (hidden) angst that builds each time we drive and don't feel comfortable behind the wheel, more so when we are involved in an accident or road-rage incident. Unfortunately for a lot of people it has a cumulative effect.<br />
<br />
It is known that people with clear conscience, especially when they are at fault, can't sleep or have 'flashbacks' reliving traumatic incidents. But eventually we all have to move on...After all there are people with real (and real big ) problems out there...<br />
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Dear friend, you have to take some comfort in knowing that you are not alone.<br />
There are thousands of people, and not necessarily "New Drivers" like yourself, with problems that arose as a result of, or compounded by, an incident on the road, a crash, a near miss, a child running out, an attack, etc.<br />
<br />
The only "therapy" I would recommend you is to get out there and drive some more. The more you drive, the more confident you'll feel, the more confident the more relaxed, and soon enough, before you'll know it, you'll start to enjoy driving.<br />
<br />
Now...what I would recommend you is this. Find a real driving school, a good one, that are using their cars. I know that to a short financial analysis will appear to be kind of expensive, but if you think of the long term benefits, you'll realize that is worth the price. (consider the money you have to pay to fix the car now)<br />
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The reason I would recommend you a driving school is because of this. They use their own cars that are equipped with "double command". That will give you some peace of mind, knowing that no matter your mistakes, the instructor will be able at any given moment to take control over the car. And if they don't... .. well.. .. is their car right? <br />
<br />
In turn you will feel more relaxed, thus able to focus more on the road, driving inputs and other driving tasks, anything but worrying about an eventual crash. <br />
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When you experienced worry behind the wheel, you restrict the amount of information that you acquire about your driving landscape (traffic), information is vital for a safe, comfortable driving. Often due to the missing information could lead to mistakes, or wrong decisions, hence reinforcing and feeding your belief that you are entitled be afraid of driving, which in turn creates more tension. Catch 22 like.<br />
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Please take note of this: Many people consider the fear of getting back behind the wheel, such as yours, to be a sign of weakness. However I believe that is quite the opposite. The capacity to automatically, and consistently avoid perceived danger is quite a powerful skill.

And you can do it. Just don't wait. Please<br />
<br />
Your dream was just a dream. And witnesses don't act like that in real life.

Not even been behind the wheel since. The car is fixed and I still thinking about driving. I once dreamed (three days ago) that I was driving through a traffic light and tried to parallel park the car (don't know how to parallel park yet) next to the courthouse. I ended up hitting the bumper of a police car, but no damage to the car I'm driving. The police came out of the courthouse and witnesses were pointing fingers at me. <br />
<br />
I still want to drive.

And it has been almost three weeks. Have you driven yet, even just a little?

Dear Flower,<br />
<br />
Good to know that you are unhurt, did not hurt anyone and the damage was not too big.<br />
Based on your story, I strongly believe that more the only person at fault is the "instructor"<br />
<br />
I am myself an Advanced Tactical Driving Instructor and I can very well relate to your story. Although my trainees are already experienced drivers from law enforcement, military and/or private security details, under the pressure they all do mistakes. Is not a matter of "if they will screw up" but "when".<br />
<br />
Is the instructor's duty to choose a safe venue and elect carefully the type of maneuver the trainee/new driver is about to perform, based on the trainee's skill and capability, road design, road conditions, traffic density, etc<br />
<br />
An experienced instructor could have foresee the lane you are going to end up based on the steering wheel position (steering wheel turn degree ) and correct the input in a timely manner.<br />
<br />
In the future dear friend, when applying the emergency brakes or make a evasive maneuver in attempt to avoid a collision, please remember this:<br />
=== Look (visually focus) where you would like the car to go; do not look where you don't want the care to end up===<br />
<br />
Most on the people with a poor training, when they start to loose control (skid), they are like "oh my God, Oh my God, I am going to hit that tree, I am going to hit that tree!!!"<br />
Baaaaaammmmmmm nex thing you know.. .. they hit THAT tree.<br />
<br />
Chances are the reason you ended up hitting the tree, is that you focused on it when initiated the panic brake.<br />
If you ever are going to find yourself in the Vancouver, BC area, let me know and you can spend few hours on my driving pad and show you few driving concepts.<br />
<br />
But again...after the fact, the most important thing is that you didn't hurt yourself or others.

The longer you wait to get back behind the wheel. The longer you will relive your mistake. Life goes forward and so, must you. Get back behind the wheel real fast like.

I see there has been several comments telling you to get back behind the wheel of a car. I can't agree more with them, especially because this passed Monday I just received my driver's license for the first time. I know that it is just a driver's license but to me it was a self-esteem boost. I feel so independent and proud of myself. I was so scared to learn how to drive. I just had to tell myself that I am competent and capable of learning to drive. It doesn't matter how long it takes you to learn how to drive because the most important thing is for you to feel comfortable behind wheel, so that you don't panic. As for your instructor make sure it is with a person that can make you feel at ease while behind the wheel, it doesn't matter whether they are a professional instructor or not. I went through three instructors--two professional instructors and the other was my boss's husband. There are a helluva lot of drivers out there that are terrible driver and have a license. I believe you can do it! =)

This weekend, I wanted to get behind the wheel of the rental car, and wanted to drive again once we got our car fixed. It's fixed, but hubby insisted that I'm still not ready. Just watching him drive from the passenger seat looks like fun.

That will have to do then. I was driving a semi truck once when a woman in a tiny Saturn drove into the front side of the truck. <br />
I was incredibly shook up! No one was hurt, but I sat there afterwards, thinking of the 3 hour drive in heavy rush hour traffic in Detroit, back to the factory I worked at.<br />
I said a little prayer and got back on the road. I had no choice, but I did NOT want to :) LoL

Well, my instructor is not giving me any more lessons until the end of summer.

Flower, I'm glad that you're both unharmed. Mistakes and accidents happen. I'm not saying that just to be sympathetic; it's the truth. Your husband was understanding also, which is wonderful. <br />
I've been in accidents a few times...a few were due to my mistakes, and some were due to other's mistakes. <br />
Here is my advice: You absolutely must get right back into the driver's seat. Do not wait to "feel" better. I know that you are afraid, but unless you go right back to it now.....it will be harder and harder the longer you wait. You CAN do this, flower. Trust yourself. Again, I'm glad you aren't hurt :)