EnGROSSing Experiences: Accident

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Quite recently, I was involved in a minor auto accident.  Even though my front end hit the passenger door of the other car, it wasn’t my fault or responsibility; that driver had made an improper turn right in front of me.  Luckily, this happened as I was just starting up again from the stop light at an intersection and wasn’t travelling very fast, and in the other car, there was no one but the driver…

…who turned out to be a very young girl with one of those restricted licenses issued to youngsters of legal driving age but under 20.  We both pulled over to the curb and got out of our cars with all necessary information in hand(s).  Our little “confrontation” didn’t even slow down traffic; everyone just went on driving right by.

So there she stood, and she was crying. “This is my first accident,” she blubbered.  I felt so sorry for her, that any anger I might or even should have had evaporated immediately.   She might have been my granddaughter!  I started to console her: “You are a new driver.  You’ll be driving for a long time, and there will be more – probably many more – ‘fender-benders’ in your life.  Everyone has a first accident; most people have at least several after that.  Try not to let this get to you or make you afraid to drive again…”

She was grateful, and I was amazed – not by her, but by how I felt, and what I’d said.  I was in a terrible accident as a passenger when I was only 14, and didn’t work up the courage to drive myself until I was 37!  And I only started then because I was a divorced mother with a son in driver-ed class to whom I’d promised a car: “Then you can take me grocery shopping instead of our kind neighbors,” I told him — until I found out what it would cost to insure new car when the only driver in the house was a 16-year-old male!  So I went to driver-ed myself, and learned in a hurry.  He got his license one day, driven to the test site by one of those kind neighbors; he drove me to get mine the next!

In the many years since, I’ve had my share of those fender-benders and kept on driving.  But so many of my current age-mates no longer drive, and had trouble giving it up.  I’m sure, however, that I will not.  When the time comes for me, I’ll know it, and nobody will have to pry the keys from my hand – I’ll throw them at the nearest person!

I never really wanted to drive anyway…

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