I was all of 22 years. College graduate. A young guy seeking nothing more than a nice Sunday drive with his girlfriend.
The entrance ramp to Route 17 was a one lane affair with an old Buick that seemed to be all too hesitant. Five seconds. Ten Seconds. An eternity of 20 seconds came and went before the vehicle started to creep forward and seemed ready for forward motion.
I had thought the vehicle was long gone when, a few seconds later, I pressed the accelerator and…
“Boom!” A nasty fender bender had taken place.
The Buick’s old style aluminum fender had been bent while my old Toyota’s bumper seemed fine. At least from the driver’s seat.
I inhaled a few seconds of stunned silence. Got out a little shaky, and went to the other car.
“Are you okay?” It was a lady in her 60′s.
“Yes young man, thank God. Are you?”
“I’m okay but I think I got your fender pretty good.”
The lady took a look at me, my car, and then said words to the effect of, “Well, my house is only a couple of miles away from here. Let’s get out of this traffic and follow me.”
Like a Pavlovian lap dog I followed her straight to the house. I was shocked that an older lady, especially in North Jersey, would be willing to do this. But once I saw the mailbox stand in the form of a rifle, and plenty of cars on her driveway, I realized she and her passenger were more comfortable in that familiar place. Besides, there was a heat wave going on and a nice suburban street was a far nicer place to wait for public officials than a traffic laden highway that was near three different malls.
A police officer came by and took the report. No tickets. No drawn out crying or arguments. Just a simple straightforward affair. My fault. I pay. That was that.
Except for one little thing. No insurance company claim, thank God! I offered to simply pay for her repair at a nearby independent shop. It did cost a few hundred dollars but, compared to the four figured rate increase that comes with a blemished driving record in New Jersey, it was cheap. Real cheap.
That was my last at-fault accident. But what about you? Did you ever find yourself in a collision that was entirely of your own making?