By on July 10, 2013

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Yesterday I was out for a walk when I saw an accident happen. It wasn’t a bad one, the driver of a small delivery truck came off the clutch and his rig hopped forward and smacked the back of the small SUV stopped at the light ahead of him. The light changed and the two trucks involved pulled across the intersection and the drivers got out. The driver of the SUV was a well to do looking woman in a business suit and when saw the damage to the back of her car, smashed rear bumper and piece missing from the plastic bumper cover – there may have been other things, but I really wasn’t that close – she absolutely flipped out in the middle of the street. It go so intense that I am sure the sound of her shrill shrieking is still suspended in space somewhere over the city even now.

Last week, I took a trip to antediluvian Toronto and, thanks some massive construction project that left me sitting in traffic for almost three hours, got back to Buffalo just after midnight. My wife was waiting for me in the garage when I rolled in and I could tell from the expression on her face that the conversation wasn’t going to be a good one. Sure enough, while I had been gone, she had managed to strike the front fender of our Ford Freestar against entrance of our garage while she was backing out. The passenger side fender had a pumpkin sized dent and the damage included the headlight, which had broken out of its mounts and now hung by its wires in front of the van’s bumper. Since I take some pride n my vehicles, she assumed I would be quite upset. Oddly, I, a tried and true “car guy” wasn’t upset at all.

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Years ago I read Mario Puzo’s The Godfather and this one sentence jumped out at me the moment I read it: There are men in this world who go about demanding to be killed. They argue in gambling games; they jump out of their cars in a rage if someone so much as scratches their fender. These people wander through the streets calling out “Kill me, kill me.”

I decided then that I would not be such a person. While it pains me to see one of my vehicles damaged, I understand that these things can be repaired and, so long as no one is seriously hurt, there really isn’t much to be upset about.

The next morning, I wandered out to the garage and took a good look at the Grey Lady’s “red badge of courage.” I unscrewed and pulled back the inner fender lining and with the help of a hammer around the edge of the dent managed to get it popped back out. The body line is still not perfect and the places where I hammered so gently ended up with a few dimples but all in all it looks pretty good considering how bad it was. The headlight was cracked in several places where it broke away from its mounts, but I jury rigged it with some zip ties and ordered a brand new unit from Rock Auto for less than $100. When it arrives in the next few days I will fit it and the entire episode will be done.

Before you assert that these two incidents have nothing else in common let me tell you about the young woman who backed into the side of our Freestar at the supermarket a few months ago, scraping the corner back bumper. I wasn’t pleased, but since she had managed to miss all the fragile sheet metal and only left few scuffs and some baby blue paint off the back of her Chevy Cruz – paint that I removed with some polishing compound and elbow grease – I let her off scott free. Then there was the time a guy in Japan rolled into and scuffed the back bumper of my MPV at a stoplight and still another time before that a woman in Seattle rush hour traffic gave my 200SX Turbo a pretty good jolt as well. In those cases as well, after deciding the damage was minimal, I let the offending parties walk.

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To be sure, the stories I am relating about my own vehicles all involve minimal damage while the car I saw struck is going to require some professional attention, but I still think the woman’s overreaction was totally uncalled for and I pity the poor delivery driver who hit her. I am certain the “victim” of the accident has already called her insurance agent and has probably made an appointment with her doctors to check for possible back injuries as well. This whole thing is going to cause them both a whole lot of stress in the days and weeks to come and I feel bad for both of them, her the victim of the driver’s carless mistake and he the victim of her senseless, over-the-top reaction. Better, I think, for everyone not to get too carried away lest we end up sleeping with the fishes.

Thomas Kreutzer currently lives in Buffalo, New York with his wife and three children but has spent most of his adult life overseas. He has lived in Japan for 9 years, Jamaica for 2 and spent almost 5 years as a US Merchant Mariner serving primarily in the Pacific. A long time auto and motorcycle enthusiast he has pursued his hobbies whenever possible. He also enjoys writing and public speaking where, according to his wife, his favorite subject is himself.

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146 Comments on “Different Reactions To Getting Rear-Ended...”


  • avatar
    David Hester

    In my experience, when I rolled up for a non- injury accident report and one of the drivers was having a full- blown, Exorcist caliber meltdown, 9 times out of 10 they were the at- fault driver. I figure it was kind of like an animal making a colorful display in order to direct attention away from what was actually threatening them. They were trying to overcome their ‘advesary’ by appearing to be larger than they were.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      I’ll add that this is true with most every situation where someone might be at fault, like when a liar gets caught in a lie, or in customer service.

    • 0 avatar

      Agreed. Two accidents ago, a college kid was waved out of a side street by the driver of the car to my right on South Congress (4-lanes). He pulled right out in front of me, turning left. Of course I didn’t see him until he’d wiped out the front bumper of my Saabaru. He immediately jumped out and started getting in my face demanding to know “Why you crash me, brah? Whatchu thinking, brah? That was my turn, brah. That was MY turn.” I’m sure he knew he was at fault but was trying to intimidate me into admitting fault. And of course the driver to my right stopped, and fearing being assigned some degree of fault for waving him into 45 MPH traffic agreed with the other driver that I should’ve stopped to let him turn.

      Neither the APD nor USAA Insurance agreed with their assessment of the situation.

    • 0 avatar
      mklrivpwner

      I was side-swiped by a driver whose lane ended. He had time to shout obscenities from across his wife, mock me from across his wife, flip me off from across his wife, and blare his horn repeatedly. Before he hit me. Then his passenger side door hit my driver side door and we pulled into the next parking lot.
      Before he was upright, his arms were waving around and he was screaming “What the hell were you doing?!” followed by a string of explitives that would get someone banned from a Turrets help group. His wife was very quiet (arms folded) still in their car. I politely explained that I was driving and given his reaction, I would feel more comfortable with a cop overseeing the exchange.
      A cop showed up and didn’t even bother to hear one word from either of us. He said “Yep. It’s his fault. Exchange your insurance informaton and they’ll deal with it.” The fun didn’t happen until the insurance company called me.
      They called me claiming partial responsibility for “failing to avoid an accident”. No, really. I explained that I couldn’t avoid it because doing so would endanger other fine individuals and families in traffic who were obeying traffic laws. I went on to explain that their driver had plenty of time to react by shouting obscenities and flipping me off before careening into my car. She said “Oh… (a full 5-second pause)… Oh… We didn’t have that, err, information… Oh.”
      They paid me $1300 and claimed the value of the car was $1500 (just missed totalling it). I turned around and sold it to a family friend desperate for a car; “It doesn’t matter what it looks like, we just need a car.” for $800.

      • 0 avatar
        skor

        You’re lucky the cop was honest and didn’t have a reason to f*** you. Let’s say you get into an accident around where I live. Let’s further say that the accident is 100% the fault of the other driver. Now let’s say the cop shows up and finds out the driver of the other car is a cop, relative or a cop, or otherwise is connected. You now have a BIG problem. Think I’m paranoid? It happened to me.

        Fortunately, it’s easy/cheap to install a camera of some sort in you vehicle these days. It’s common practice in places like Russia and in third world countries where everyone knows the cops as as crooked as the day is long. Just one caveat: Try to conceal the camera in some way. If the police find you have a camera set up in your car, the camera will very likely fling itself into the policeman’s baton or mag-light.

    • 0 avatar
      Morgan

      Yep. Me,too. All too often.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Life’s too short to get excited about such things.

    I was sitting in my barber’s shop waiting to get a haircut when a guy in an F250 pulled into the parking space in front of my Saab 9-3 and literally yanked the entire front end off the car. $4500 in damage, just like that. Corner of his rear bumper caught the edge of the front fender. It’s just a car, nobody was hurt, it will be fixed. No reason to get excited about anything.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Do you know how hard it is to get good replacement tail light lenses for a ’90 Bonneville?

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      You’re probably right. I haven’t seen a Bonnie of that vintage in ages.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      I loved the 8th-generation Bonneville – great car for its era and price point. SE was the trim level to have: tighter suspension and quicker steering than the base and LE cars and a tenth of a second or two faster than the SSE, which was weighed down by its gaudy body kit. Put in Fox body terms, it was the LX 5.0 to the SSE’s GT.

      (Apologies if you’re rocking an SSE, ajla. Good on you for keeping any Bonneville on the road.)

      • 0 avatar
        Lt.BrunoStachel

        @Featherston. Got any hard facts to back your assumption? All Bonnys aren’t mechanically the same. The SE/LE came with a standard 2,84 final drive ratio. The SSE used a 3.33. Combined with the same 165 horse motor the SSE would have the upper hand in acceleration. Aint hardly a weight difference either. The urethane body cladding probably only adds another 10 pounds of weight if even that. Combine a lighter weight bucket seat floor shifted interior alloy wheel compared to the split bench steel wheels and I’d guess the SSE was about even in weight to the weiner SE/LE. The SSE is still the winner. Besides when was the last time you saw a 87-91 SSE?

        • 0 avatar
          Featherston

          According to Wikipedia (grain of salt) the SE had a shorter gear ratio too. I’ll defer to you, since you’re stating actual numbers. It could be that the SE had a shorter ratio only in ’87, in LG3-powered form. The SSE didn’t debut until a year later; both it and the SE had the updated LN3 at that point.

          It’d be tough to find numbers on an ’88-’91 SE; the Car and Driver and Road & Track tests would’ve been on the ’87 model with the less powerful LG3. I seem to recall a Motorweek review where Gentleman John Davis commented that the SSE was *not* faster than a previously tested SE, but I could be imagining that. I can’t find it on YouTube. (As an aside: Car and Driver found the Chrysler 300M Special to be slower than a regular 300M. Its subtle body kit and larger wheels more than offset a lower gear ratio. http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/chrysler-300m-special-short-take-road-test.)

          The SE most definitely had bucket seats and alloy wheels; it was only the base and the LE that had a bench seat and steelies: http://www.caranddriver.com/photos-09q3/287334/1987-pontiac-bonneville-se-photo-287626. That gap in your ’80s Poncho knowledge is making me doubt your assertions regarding final drive ratios. ;-)

          You’re right though, I haven’t seen an ’88-’91 SSE in *years*, probably not since the mid-’90s. I used to see the occasional LE survivor, but probably not within the past five years. I actually did see an SE in decent shape on someone’s driveway two or three years ago, but that’s probably the only time this millennium.

          • 0 avatar
            racer193

            Hooniverse featured a 89 Pontiac 6000 STE AWD yesterday find it and take a look Its like brand new.

          • 0 avatar
            Featherston

            @ Racer193, nice! You had me at “Period correct Goodyear Eagle GT+4 tires.” This has to be the same car: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpnY_tiRFos

            This post is interesting, especially with regard to the comparison of the STE and the Eurosport: http://autosofinterest.com/2012/10/31/guest-post-chevrolet-celebrity-eurosport/. The price disparity between the two packages is staggering: $6,200 for the STE vs $320 for the Eurosport. Adjusted for inflation, those values are about $13,450 vs $700, respectively. I’m not sure what year it debuted, but Pontiac did later add a 6000 SE that upgraded steering and suspension but lacked the STE’s mandatory, expensive gizmos.

            Kudos to A-car chief engineer Norm Scholler for insisting that the Eurosport option include the police suspension package and not just appearance changes.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        I’ve owned a ’89 SE and a ’90 LE. My current Bonneville is a ’92 SSEi. I’m actually on the lookout for an 8th gen SSE, but they are nearly extinct.

        My ’89 was pretty loaded. It had automatic climate control, F41 suspension, premium sound, power seat, leather steering wheel, steering wheel buttons, alloys, floor shift, and fog lights.

        The RPO on the ’89 for the final drive was F79 (I still have the picture of the build sticker). That corresponds to 2.97. The 3.33 final drive is RPO GX3, and I’ve never seen it on a non SSE.

        FWIW, I don’t remember the LE feeling any slower than the SE. If anything the softer FE1 suspension on the LE made the LN3′s torque all the more noticeable.

        • 0 avatar
          Featherston

          Great info, ajla. My completely unsubstantiated guess is that either Wikipedia is wrong about the shorter ratio in the SE or that it was available in ’87 only and became an SSE feature starting in ’88.

  • avatar
    gettysburg

    “…the sound of her shrill shrieking is still suspended in space somewhere over the city even now.”

    The estate of Jean Shepard may be coming after you.

    From A Christmas Story
    “In the heat of battle my father wove a tapestry of obscenities that as far as we know is still hanging in space over Lake Michigan.”

  • avatar
    KixStart

    Two thoughts occur to me:

    Some people are really into owning stuff. Too bad they can’t all live in one place.

    I wouldn’t want to be her kid.

  • avatar
    April

    Good to know men are even-tempered angels and women are screeching she-devils.

    o_O

    • 0 avatar

      Were the situation reversed it would be socially unacceptable for a man to freak out on a woman. He might do it, but if he got too strident other men would likely intervene on the woman’s behalf. He might even get accused of assault and taken into custody.

      Were it two men, going crazy on someone could be a reason for a beat down or worse, as in the quote I gave you.

      The only time I have ever seen this kind of thing is when a woman is yelling at a man. In our society it is much easier for a woman to get away with having this sort of reaction against a man. Almost no bystander would intervene on a man’s behalf and tell her to calm down.

      • 0 avatar
        April

        I do not see it as a double standard. Considering all the brutality a male dominated society has directed at women since forever.

        • 0 avatar

          Um, sorry, but brutality or violence bewteen any two people is unacceptable no matter what genders they are. A woman doesn’t get a free pass to be violent against or go crazy on a man any more than I get a free pass to be violent against a random Englishman whose people oppressed my Irish ancestors.

          • 0 avatar
            SC5door

            BINGO!

            If a woman acts violent against me, the only beat down she’ll get it from the judge after charges are pressed. Enjoy your jail time, and now criminal record.

            In the eyes of the law there is no free pass for one side or the other.

        • 0 avatar

          “Male dominated society”.

          You mean to tell me that women don’t have all of the babies and give them the values they will have for the rest of their lives?

          You don’t see any situation where women are advantaged, like in family law, as being a double standard, and if there is, you think it’s just payback for all those brutish men abusing those noble, long-suffering women.

          Like Helen Smith points out in Men On Strike, the old coverture, which paternalistically made men responsible for the actions of their wives and minor children, has been replaced by a new coverture that guarantees all sorts of protections to women but few to men.

          Ultimately, female hypegamy rules in every society.

          In any case, if a particular society seems to be dominated by males, that’s because women raised their sons to appear to dominate and their daughters to appear to be dominated. Of course, in every society, women are in charge (see above regarding children and their values).

          Don’t believe me? As was pointed out in Jerry Seinfeld’s most recent Comedians, Cars & Coffee video, with Don Rickles, if two women get along, and their husbands also get along, if one of the wives doesn’t like the other man, the two couples won’t socialize.

          Ask any man who is married if he can hang around with male friends of his that his wife doesn’t like? Can he have those friends over for dinner?

          Women determine what kind of men a society has. Simply put, societies get the men that women will have sex with and the men they’ll tolerate hanging around the men they are having sex with.

          • 0 avatar
            wsn

            “Simply put, societies get the men that women will have sex with and the men they’ll tolerate hanging around the men they are having sex with.”

            Your simply put statement is not so simple for me. I don’t know what you are talking about. Could you break it down to simpler terms? Like, not concatenating multiple short sentences together?

          • 0 avatar
            campocaceres

            I would agree with you except for very strict/devout middle eastern countries, where women appear to have very few rights. At the very least on the surface, as I am not a member of that society so I only know what I’ve seen on the news/internet.

            But you bring up a great point about mothers being the primary propagators of a given society’s values; I’ve never thought of it that way. I suppose if you’re not a mother, it’s harder to come to that conclusion.

            Regardless, I didn’t see anything in the article that made such in implication about men and women. The examples given, which come from the author’s personal observation/experience, happen to be that way, but it doesn’t seem to me like they were cherry picked for that specific expression. Seems like a silly argument in progress, no matter what our personal opinions might be.

          • 0 avatar
            April

            Don Rickles. Not exactly a best example of someone who repects women.

          • 0 avatar
            April

            Don Rickles. Not exactly a best example of someone who respects women.

        • 0 avatar
          jimbob457

          My sweet, gentle late mother was always mystified by male brutality toward women. She considered herself a pioneer woman. She owned a 410. As she put it, he has to sleep sometime. Women who allow themselves to be abused by men deserve what they get.

          • 0 avatar
            Summicron

            Beautiful. If she were around today I’d recommend a Taurus Judge. Same ammo, easier to wield.

            But seriously, many women are brutalized from such an early age that they’re incapable of self-defense. And no woman deserves it.

        • 0 avatar
          parabellum2000

          That is a great insight into the feminist movement. It’s not about equality or justice, its about punishing current and future generations of men for the sin of their fathers and grandfathers.

          Thanks, that really clears up so much!

          • 0 avatar
            Summicron

            Oh, the sons and grandsons are keeping the proud tradition going. Definitely current events. Look at that piece of dirt in Cleveland and the never ending string of kidnap/murders reported every week. How many victims are males?

          • 0 avatar
            99GT4.6

            SO true! I can’t stand most of the current feminist movement. I’m not pro men or anti women, I am however a strong supporter of EQUAL rights. I hate when women’s groups complain about men having more rights then continue to use all forms of reverse discrimination. That doesn’t make anything right. If modern feminists were actually about equal rights than I would be fine with them but all most of them seem to want is to punish men for discriminating against them in the past.

          • 0 avatar

            “How many victims are males?”

            Google [sexual assault juvenile prisoners female guards]. It appears that there is a pandemic of sexual abuse of male juveniles in the criminal justice system and the vast majority of perpetrators are women.

            Also, there seems to be a problem with female teachers in high schools and junior highs having sex with students, most of their reported victims are males.

            Women are as equally capable of evil as men.

    • 0 avatar
      bk_moto

      Not women. This particular woman.

      Not men. This particular man.

      Naturally the world (i.e. youtube) is no doubt filled with examples where the roles are reversed.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      Men aren’t.

      But we pretend to be, because we learned back in middle school that running your mouth at other men will get you punched in it.

      Women almost never learn that. Some of them could stand to.

      • 0 avatar
        April

        So violence is the answer to shut up women?

        • 0 avatar
          Summicron

          We’ve got another gun safety class next month at the TC and I’m proselytizing it to women as I always do.

          Because most guys will always answer your question with “yes”. Some just take more provocation than others.

          And if the physical disparity between the sexes were the other way around, men would get the beating. We’re all just overgrown chimps.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Ah, easier said than done.

          The simple and yet complicated answer is to treat others with a modicum of respect now matter who they are or what the circumstance may be.

        • 0 avatar

          April,

          It’s a female privilege thing. Women think their plumbing entitles them to a pass on behavior that would get a man beaten or arrested. Knowing that “fighting words” can indeed provoke violence keeps most men from using such language. Women expect to get a pass on that. The fact that women learn to demean, to shame and to humiliate as their own expression of dominance (spend any time in Junior High?) adds even more fuel to their ire.

          Males, because they are naturally promiscuous and violent, are taught from very early on not to act on those impulses, particularly regarding females. You know that your brothers and your male cousins were taught not to hit girls.

          Add the lie promulgated over the past 40 years that women aren’t equally guilty of domestic violence resulting in the fact that today any altercation between a woman and a man, from verbal assault to murder, will carry criminal and social stigma implications for the man that the woman simply won’t face.

          You know you can run your mouth way over the line because you expect not to get hit.

          The men that act that way, the ones who verbally abuse others the way women naturally do, those are the men that Mario Puzo said are just asking to get killed.

    • 0 avatar
      SomeGuy

      What a sad victim mentality you have. I read this blog to escape poor comments like this one that has turned Autoblog’s comment section into a cesspool of ignorance.

      Let me spell it out for you:

      The author was just giving some anecdotal (that means personal story) evidence about how people (see how I didn’t bring up what sex the person was?) can at times overract in situations when it really it isn’t needed.

      You come in here and cry sexism and sadly turn the discussion from others sharing their stories and commenting on the actualy QUALITY of the article to now our author having to defend himself over nothing.

      Good luck out there, you need it more than I do.

  • avatar
    Fordson

    “… he the victim of her senseless, over-the-top reaction.”

    Nope – sorry. I, the bystander, am not going to look down my nose at the person who is now facing a lot of inconvenience at a minimum and damage that is not repaired satisfactorily or at all at a maximum, and dictate to them my standards of correct behavior for a situation that I don’t have to deal with. Did she take a swing at him? Just words? Then his job is to apologize, take some expletives, apologize some more, call the cops if he feels he is in any actual peril. If he is indeed to be described as a victim, then he is a victim of his own driving.

    Also, before you count your chickens re: your headlight assembly just bolting back in, I would consider that the reason it broke is that the mounting hardpoints are no longer where they should be. I would bet there will be more metalwork needed and hopefully the aiming mechanisms are not damaged OR the mounting points moved so far out of true that the replacement light cannot be correctly aimed. When you are halfway through that headache the day after the parts come in, come back and post about how cool, calm and collected you are.

    • 0 avatar
      Summicron

      ++

      In addition to the mocking and sexist photo implying that only women go ballistic, this article is overly forgiving of rear-enders. My wife has twice been rear ended and has neck trouble to this day. Had I been on scene for either of them *I’d* have gone ballistic.

      Zero tolerance. We’re not just talking property damage.

      • 0 avatar

        The second mocking photo is two guys. Just sayin’.

        Also, I think I made myself clear that all of these were fairly small accidents as these things go. I wouldn’t make light of or argue that anyone should walk away from an accident in which they were injured. I think I made that point as well. You and I generally tend to agree with each other enough in our posts that I hope you would have a good understanding of my point. If you haven’t then perhaps I have failed to be clear enough in what I have written.

        The whole point of this article is that people should use moderation. I find it pretty funny, actually, that people seem to be against keeping calm when bad things happen.

        • 0 avatar
          Summicron

          You’re right. I overreacted because of what my wife’s been through.

          My apologies.

          • 0 avatar

            Thanks, but an apology isn’t necessary. In the many years we have both posted on TTAC don’t think you have ever written anything that has offended me and I was sorry to think I had written something that offended you.

            I am truly sorry about your wife’s suffering. I don’t think anyone would want to make light of what you and your family have been through. Things like this is why we have lawyers and insurance. This sort of thing demands to be made right.

          • 0 avatar
            Summicron

            You ichi-ban guy, Kuroisa-san.

        • 0 avatar
          burgersandbeer

          Most of your examples are a bit past moderation – you are too lenient.

          I keep calm and civil, but my car isn’t turning into a hooptie because of someone else’s carelessness. And it isn’t going to be my inconvenience fixing it either. No screaming and yelling of obscenities, but if I’m rear ended, the at-fault party is paying for the parts and labor. Visible damage would have to be near zero for me to let someone off the hook in that situation.

          There are plenty of people out there who are completely reckless and not only don’t care when they damage property, they actually expect to be let off the hook and get angry when they are held accountable. It drives me crazy.

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            Unfortunately, I am a bit on the other end, as far as giving a good verbal (and only verbal) denigration to another driver with whom I’ve been involved in a pileup! It’s happened to me twice, both times without injury, praise God! Thankfully, in both cases, the accidents blocked the driver’s door, so I was able to cool down for a second or three, or I seriously would have been afraid of inflicting harm on the other person. (Therapy has proven to me that, no, the “switches” that normal people possess are still present, so I would have stopped short!) But I’m still going to call somebody NSFW names! Of course, I have to remember that even as careful as I am (more like “paranoid”), the shoe could wind up on the other foot!)

            First one was a sideswipe which left a seven-year-old hooptie of a Taurus with a busted headlight and bumper after the driver turned out of a parking lot w/o looking, but left my five-year-old Accord undriveable, with a busted front tie-rod, crinkled door skin and bent wheel. My car took a month to repair, but still came back good as new, thank goodness. (The fact that the driver’s 16 y/o daughter was sitting in the car was an outrage to me–”yeah, good example, lady!”) And I didn’t even use “b****,” much less “c***,” in the encounter; this is going on ten years, so my memory may not be clear on the specifics other than what I mentioned, but I think “f***ing idiot” was the worst utterance.

            Then the other one: two years ago, June 20th, going to work in a body shop’s loaner Focus (my car was in for some miscellaneous bumps and bruises, including a parking lot rear-end bump-’n-run (l/p bolt outlines visible) and a keying (while in the parking lot of the TITLE BUREAU obtaining the paper title to the car I had just paid-off), and am T-boned while going through a green light at approximately 15mph (both vehicles, after we both braked)! *** By a local transit bus!!!! *** With that one, I believe I even told the driver, with eyewitnesses watching and who corroborated my side, AND after he apologized, to do something which is normally an anatomical impossibility! To add insult to injury, the f*** actually went to court and was able to plead to a “fix-it” ticket!! Yup, no points!

            I would have been more than happy to have seen this idiot lose his CDL, since as others have stated, a “zero-tolerance” applies! This wasn’t just “Mr. Jones runs a red in his Civic and T-bones Mrs. Stevens in her Hyundai,” this could have been life or death if the speeds would have been greater, or even if I would have entered the intersection a half-second sooner! As it was, no airbags or pretensioners, damage similar to that Accord in the first one except more extensive to the hood and front-fender, along with some unibody damage, which took $4,000 worth of the body shop’s time and resources to fix; I believe that they were able to get the car back to close to right, but this car was only the worst of their casualties, as several other Foci on their lot belonging to them (three or four out of their fleet of seven) were also waiting to be repaired! Add another to the pile!

            Again, therapy (which I have been doing for years, even preceding this incident) has helped with the anger over this stuff, so I’m not going to beat you into submission over a fender-bender (though the thought might cross my mind)! But your careless driving isn’t going to get a pass from me if you damage my property, either! You can be assured that:

            1. The police will be called, so that if any penalties are to be meted out, you will get them!
            2. Your insurance will be contacted, and if you have no insurance, I will see you in court!
            3. Plead “not guilty,” and I’ll definitely see you in court! Learned this the hard way: I was called to testify for the defense after the bus T-boned me, but when I contacted the court to inquire about their procedures, they asked me a couple questions as to how the insurance stuff was going, and was told that I wouldn’t need to report! Big mistake, as I would have at least wanted to show my outrage, or more appropriately, ask the court to consider whether it is a good message to send to those in control of large vehicles (with credentials implying a higher expectation of safety and professional training, i.e., a CDL) that you can blow through lights with impunity and get-off scot-free, provided that the bloke that you knock into next week isn’t taken away on a stretcher or in a first-call vehicle!

            Sorry for the length, B&B, but as you can see, this topic gets my dander up, especially after that bus incident! And again, I know the shoe could be on the other foot, so if I cause an accident to the B&B, feel free to hurl an “f-bomb” or several, call the police, and hound my insurance company as necessary to ensure that things are taken care-of!

      • 0 avatar
        SomeGuy

        Sexist photos? Seriously? Grow up, it is 2013.

        • 0 avatar
          Summicron

          Eau de locker room.

          • 0 avatar
            MrGreenMan

            “My brother has a message he wants to tell you.”

            “Uh, um, yeah, uh, I just, I just wanted to say how great it is to finally see some chicks on the bench. Keep up the good work, toots.”

            “Heh heh, ‘chicks on the bench’.”

            Maybe it’s a roundabout practice of the academic fictional art of writing women into history?

    • 0 avatar

      Actually the headlight broke because it was made out of plastic and because it hooked the edge of the door. Ford Freestars use a bar that runs through core support and into tabs at the top and botom of the light. Pull the bar up and the light can come off in your hand to facilitate changing bulbs. The tabs are flimsy and easily broken off. I checked it, it will be fine.

      Let me ask you this, if someone inconvenienced you, would you freak out about it? Do you think it is acceptable to have a melt down in the street over this kind of thing? This is the old two wrongs don’t make a right. If she had gone off on me that way I’d have told her to f*ck right off, got back in the cab and called a cop.

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        I think it all depends, As much as I love my Mustangs, my former car an 07 GT was rear-ended by a kid who was probably paying to much attention or who knows what to his girlfriend in the truck when he hit me. Kid didn’t act like an ass or try to lie so I didn’t see the point in escalating the situation.

        Now if he had rear-ended me and flew out of the truck asking me what the hell my “problem” is, then it would have been mighty tempting to go into nuke mode.

        I suppose its probably been a life spent in retail and having to deal with hotheads that given the slightest provocation explode that’s moderated my own temper.

      • 0 avatar
        Fordson

        Well, there are meltdowns and there are meltdowns. Somebody yelling at you for something you DID do? Just yelling? Time to put on the big-boy pants, stand there and take it like a man, and keep apologizing. I mean, if the scenario is that there is no doubt about who is at fault.

        Sticks and stones, you know? You screw up and cause – it sounds like here – several thousand dollars worth of damage to someone’s property, you have to be prepared to take responsibility for it. You want a guarantee they’re not gonna be *too* mean about it? Ain’t gonna happen. Is it acceptable? Other people don’t decide what is acceptable for me and I don’t decide what’s acceptable for other people.

        • 0 avatar
          redav

          No. Being angry & upset is understandable. Abuse (including verbal) or retaliation is not. It is perfectly reasonable to expect a person at fault to fix the problem they caused. It is not reasonable to use the problem as an excuse to create another problem. That’s kind of the whole point of ‘taking it like a man’–you put an end to the downward spiral of bad behavior.

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          It’s called “the heat of the moment!” See my “brain-dump” up the thread! Because at the point even the slightest of damage occurs to a modern car:

          1. That car’s going to be out of commission for a month, if not more, for repairs, or so it seems in my neck of the woods! So immediately, if the vehicle in question is a “mom-mobile” used to haul kids, that person is likely going to need to make do with something less suited to carrying said kids! It’s an inconvenience/PITA!
          2. Unless the car’s already a beater, that car will lose value should you decide to trade it, as any repair will certainly show on the CarFax.
          3. In that same vein, there is a real chance that the vehicle, depending on where the damage occurs, may NEVER be right!
          4. The vehicle may be a few years old, and paid for! Now, because ** of someone else’s negligence, ** if that car’s totaled, that person could be on the hook for a car payment, if the car is declared a loss, and because of whatever circumstances, must be surrendered.

          So yeah, I agree, I am within my right to “vent” at you a little if you prang my ride because of your texting/talking/shaving/reading/whatever-ing! I will reiterate what I said above as well, that you are within YOUR right to same, if the shoe finds itself on the opposite foot!

      • 0 avatar
        Fordson

        Oh, and in case you don’t think I mean that about “I can only control myself, and not others,” Let me tell you of my experience.

        2003. Northbound heading onto the South Grand Island Bridge. Backup at the tolls – maybe 500 yards worth. I’m in my 2000 Taurus SE wagon. Duratec engine. Leather. Loaded, mint, just put new tires on it. 34k miles.

        I see a VW Golf, late 90s, approaching at too high a speed to be able to stop. I try to get out of the way and go around the semi ahead of me, and get over between him and the Jersey barrier to our left. Not enough time. She hit me, knocked me into both the semi and the barrier. No real injuries. Maybe 30 mph. the Golf was obliterated up almost to the firewall.

        I waited for the next two days while my collision shop called me with progressively higher damage totals until they reached $12,200 and they totaled it. It was so mint that the shop owner bought it from me and salvaged it. My brand-new set of Continentals had 258 miles on them (no damage to them).

        This was a serious accident in which the fault was never in doubt. I got out of my car, walked over to the other one, asked if they were OK, called the cops. That’s it. My point is if you don’t want to get upset like that, don’t. But judging others by your yardstick…is a loser’s game.

        • 0 avatar

          It is, I think, never a losers game to urge people towards calmness and civility when they would otherwise allow their emotions to run away with themselves. I don’t ever expect it from them, but I certainly would like people to think about it what they might do should they find themselves in a similar situation.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            Sometimes the actions of others do warrant the rage. Not for an accident, but what happens when it is NOT an accident, but rather an act of road rage? My car was intentionally hit at a RR station because the jerk did not want to follow the every other merging that is the understood rule when cars are pouring out of the lot all at once. Since there is no real right of way, everbody “zippers” together. He did not want to. I merged anyway and he followed behind me and when he could he got by my side and ground his SUV’s tire into my pristine car. I tore the guy a 120 decibel a$$hole and told the cops to hurry before I punched his lights out. I waited a year before I poured a quart of DOT 3 liquid justice all over his car. The revenge was sweet and I savored every minute of it.

          • 0 avatar

            That’s a little different, I think. When someone uses their car to assault you because they feel a little pissy, it isn’t an accident.

            Also, others have speculated about the guy’s attitude. I didn’t see anything that indicated he provoked a bad response. I could tell by the way he hung his head before they moved through the intersection that he knew he screwed up. She wasn’t out of her car two seconds before she lit into him.

  • avatar
    rnc

    Didn’t even read the article, all I can recall (and I mean kodachrome clear), is the look on the poor old man’s face, as all seven people, were loaded into ambulances, wearing neck braces, after he had rear ended them at all of a good 1 mph, maybe 2 mph, felt so bad, my new stereo had long since been installed, that I waited for State Trooper (local police don’t take the reports here, have to wait for the State Trooper to arrive), to give them the info for the report and went to court to also testify regarding the ticket, the 80′s whatever GM fullsized piece of crap the people were in was already so badly beat up, that they may have pulled it off, (it had been rear ended before, probably more than once).

  • avatar
    Tinn-Can

    I cursed the hell out of my $300 opossum… I thought about going back and running him over again… The mazda3 has a lot of little pieces of brittle plastic on the front end…

    • 0 avatar
      Carlson Fan

      i’m pretty sure if that had been my wife in her Tahoe, as long as the vehcile still drove and there were no pieces laying on the ground, she wouldn’t have wanted to be bothered or inconvienced to stop and get out to check for damage. And would have just kept drivng.

      After she hit the deer last fall I told the body guy(who was assuring me the repair would be done right) that when she came to pick it up she wouldn’t so much as even look at the repair. As long as it looked like it was fixed from 50 feet away as she walked up to it that would he good enough!….LOL He did do a beautiful job fixing it.

  • avatar
    EspritdeFacelVega

    Don’t wish to be unkind, but I don’t think anyone in Buffalo gets to call Toronto “antediluvian”.

    Give my regards to the Scotch ‘n Sirloin….

  • avatar

    I’ve gotten rear ended twice. Once was a neat affair, we both pulled off and I got her info, gave her mine, and since we both had the same insurance company, had it all handled in about 30 minutes total.

    The second time was a bitch. uninsured Hispanic male, crams the front of his beat up Chrysler Sebring coupe up into the rear bumper of my ’95 Explorer at a light. I get out, eyeball his car and think to myself “this will be interesting” motion for him to pull off into the parking lot there, and we’ll talk about it. Yutz takes off, and quickly discovered that a Sebring isn’t much of a match against a pissed off guy in an SUV that I’ve driven longer than his Sebring’s been around. Collared him a few times, but he decided to start playing bumper cars and I called it off. Called the police, gave them the plate that I thought I had, didn’t come back to anything. Called insurance company and let my policy handle it. In hindsight I should have done what I was going to make Juan do, spend a $100 for a junkyard bumper and be done with it.

    If yutz had said upfront he had no insurance, I probably would have let it go, since his car was a steaming pile – literally, the last time I saw it.

  • avatar
    1998redwagon

    who’s to say she wasn’t concerned more about the loss of resale value when the accident gets reported to car fox!

    • 0 avatar
      Mr. Bill

      I am so glad you mentioned Carfax. In 2009, I had a lady back into the front bumper of my 2005 Buick Lacrosse. I was upset with her because if she had given just a little thought to her driving, the accident would never have happened. Furthermore, her attitude over the whole thing was just a big “so what?” Insurance paid a little over $400.00 to repair minor scarring to the bumper, I was provided a rental and life was seemingly good after the car was returned to me by the best body shop in town in perfect condition.

      However, fast forward a year or so later when I traded the car and got hit by the salesman with a “Bill, when did you wreck your car?” That darn Carfax showed the incident and as a result, they were offering me about $1,500.00 less because of this stating “No one wants to buy a car with a Carfax report.”

      After some back and forth, showing pictures I had taken that day of the damage, recounting the story, the offer was upped but to this day, I still believe I suffered financially because of this minor accident. It’s a real shame that this takes place. Realistically, Just about every car on the road will suffer at least something minor like this during use.

      I realize in some instances Carfax can be of help to a buyer of a used car. However, it seemingly makes a big deal out of some things that are little (even with proof to back it up) and often misses things that could be, and are, a major deal. In this case, I had to laugh to myself – so much was being made by this half a mile an hour bump when this car was saddled with an engine that used about 2 quarts every 1,500 miles, had a transmission that slipped during hot weather and some other assorted electrical gremlins.

      I am a nice person, a good person, a fair person. However, my attitude towards another person that causes an accident and does damage is this “it wasn’t damaged before, so I expect you to be responsible.” I don’t think that is unfair. It certainly would be expected of me.

      Mr. Bill

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        We bought a car that had an accident on its CarFax. Aftr the accident, they’d driven the thing for another 5-6 years and it was rust-free, so I figured it was not big deal.

        Now, on account of that, I probably paid less than I would have for a car with a clean report, because other buyers were scared away, so, yes, there might be adverse financial outcomes when you’re hit but it doesn’t mean nobody will buy the car.

        And this is probably something that should be put to the insurance ocmpany. If you’re insured against loss, loss of value should be included in the total.

        • 0 avatar
          Mr. Bill

          Oh, I very well know that was salesman talk when told that nobody would buy a car with a negative incident reported by Carfax.

          And, if I knew then what I know now, I would have gone after the at fault driver’s insurance with loss of value.

          However, I thought I read somewhere or maybe I misread, that in North Carolina, when a vehicle is not totaled, loss of value was not something covered by insurance. Repairs paid for, end of story.

          Again, before anyone attacks me on this, I may have misread. I could just ask my agent as I have a very good one with Farm Bureau. Fortunately, I have not had any accidents since the one in 2009.

      • 0 avatar
        burgersandbeer

        Autocheck makes an effort to describe accident severity. Not all claims are treated equally there.

        • 0 avatar
          Japanese Buick

          You don’t really need car fax or auto check for this. Just ask your insurance company to run the VIN through the comprehensive loss experience database. They all have and they all share to the info. You can learn all the details including the nature and the vslue of past claims that way.

  • avatar

    A guy rear ended me with an old POS Honda Civic while he was texting. I wanted to get out and hurt him, but then I thought to myself about how much extra repair work I could get done thanks to the fact that he was already at fault.

    Brand new bumper with ultrasonic sensors.
    Thanks allstate!

  • avatar
    bryanska

    There is a whole industry (insurance) devoted to making repairs as simply and pain-free as possible. Why freak out? You paid for the premium! Enjoy the vacation from your own car. Maybe you’ll rent something interesting. You won’t be paying a deductible.

    • 0 avatar
      brenschluss

      Bingo! Enjoy your Mustang convertible for a few days.

    • 0 avatar
      jpolicke

      Because even when it’s all the other person’s fault and your insurance company pays nothing, on their records you were still ‘involved’ in an accident. They may not raise your rates for this event, but if you have another accident later they will use it against you.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      Not as painless as you think, at least if having filler in your car bothers you. I can see Bondo a mile away even when done by an expert, or at least those that call themselves experts. There is an old saying: “Body damage is like a woman’s reputation. You can fix it but it never really goes away”…Truer words were never spoken.

    • 0 avatar
      walleyeman57

      Here in MI with our “strong” no fault laws each driver pays his/her own deductible regardless of fault.

      It is a bad drivers dream.

      We also enjoy some of the highest rates in the nation.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        I’ve never asked my insurance agent if I’d still be on the hook for my deductible if I was in an accident in Michigan, and the accident wasn’t my fault. (I’m from the Buckeye State immediately south.)

        From my diatribes elsewhere in this thread, it should be rather obvious that if the accident isn’t my fault, that I’m going to be rather pissed if EVERY PENNY out of my pocket spent as a result of said incident is not reimbursed or compensated!

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      Because the repairs are also “as cheap as possible.”

      1. Your car’s lost value.
      2. It may never be “right”: in looks, drive or crashworthiness, as before the incident.

      Another thing mentioned on this thread: what if the “victim” vehicle is a classic, a low-volume model, or one no-longer available?

      Again, I’m gonna vent! Take your medicine!

      (BTW, first rule of accidents is to never apologize or admit to anything, even if you know you’re at fault and that a ticket will be coming your way. Probably makes sense in this day and age where attempts will be made to “divide” fault, even if the situation looks cut-and-dried.)

  • avatar
    ajla

    I kind of made my point with my earlier comment, but if your vehicle isn’t new enough to have a ready supply of parts at the dealer or popular enough to have a Year One-style catalog then small accidents can be a big headache.

    I just picture getting hit and knowing that I’m now going to have to spend weeks scouring car-part.com and talking to disinterested junkyard employees and praying to God that they know the difference between an AMC Concord and an AMC Spirit.

    I don’t think I’d flip my lid on the person that hit me, but I’d still be pretty bummed. And, no way I could be as zen about the whole thing as you are.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m not totally Zen, but as I described above I decided a long time ago that this would be something that really wouldn’t upset me.

      As for the repairs, a lot of the fun I get from cars is the hunt. I spend more time looking online for ones I might buy than I do appreciating the ones I actually own. Believe it or not, I actually enjoyed going out and gettng my hands a little dirty on the Freestar and although it still has a small scar I feel pretty good about the results.

      I think one of the reasons I sold the 300 is that it was so nice that there was nothing to do with it other than drive it. I’d probably be annoyed someone messed up my nice ride, but if it was something simple enough for me to make right with my limited skill set I’d probably not be raging mad the whole time I was working on it.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    My biggest concern in such a situation isn’t the damage nor the other driver, its the insurance and the fear of hearing them speak to me “we’re totaling your car, heres $1000″.

    Unless if your cars new or 50 years old even the lightest bumps could send a healthy car to the scrapper.

    Though I could be exaggerating, please correct me if I’m wrong.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      No, if you get insurance involved they’ll total it for certain.

      However, as far as I know, every state allows you to keep a “totaled” car, so it doesn’t have to go to the boneyard.

      You might be getting a salvaged title though, which is always fun.

      • 0 avatar
        DC Bruce

        Don’t think you’re correct on that. If the insurance company declares the car a total loss and pays you the value of the car, they get the car. You get the money.

        I suppose you have the option of keeping the car; but you don’t get any money . . . which doesn’t make much sense to me.

        I do not think you get to keep both the car and the money.

        Many states require a repair claim that exceeds X percent of the value of the car to be converted into a total. In other words, if the car is worth $10,000 and the repairs cost, say, $5,000, the insurance company has to total it. I think the idea is to keep unsafe cars off the road and/or prevent people in the used car market from buying a car held together with chewing gum and duct tape.

        Lots of states do not allow registration of cars with salvage titles for the same reason. They want that car parted out, not put back on the road.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          “I do not think you get to keep both the car and the money.”

          You do have to “buy back” the totaled vehicle from the insurance company.

          You might end up with a smaller check from them or you might end up with no cash. I believe they take the original amount and subtract your deductible and the scrap/auction value.

          I know in FL you can’t drive around a vehicle with a “salvage” title, but you can get it repaired/inspected and have the title upgraded to “rebuilt”; which would allow you to drive it.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          AFAIK, you ALWAYS have the option to keep the car. You ‘pay’ the salvage value to the ins company, which is what they would expect to get by auctioning your car. Usually a few hundred bucks. This comes out of your check of course. You may even have the option of negotiating the payout such that the car does not get a salvage title – the ins. company really doesn’t care too much typically.

          I was in this exact situation about 15 years ago. My ’92 Peugeot 505 SW8 got rear-ended by a chick in a Civic. Pushed in the bumper, bent the bumper support bar, marred the plastic bumper cover. I took it to the best bodyshop in town. $3K estimate to repair. Replace those parts (very expensive new from Peugeot), paint the bumper cover. Value of car – $3K. Insurance company gives me a choice – they can total it, take it, and give me $3K, or I can have $2800 and keep it with a salvage title, or 80% of $3000 and no salvage title. I took the 80%, fixed it with used parts for about $300, and didn’t bother to paint the bumper – it really did ‘buff right out’.

          My fear is my BMW wagon – even though it is only 2yrs old, if it gets totaled I literally CANNOT replace it, as BMW won’t sell me another one like it. If I got a new F31, I am looking at an extra $10K+ in cost over what I paid for mine new, and it won’t be equipped the way I want. And there are nearly no used ones to be had.

          • 0 avatar
            Ryoku75

            Thank you for the quick informative replies everyone, looks like I don’t have to worry so much.

            The car in question was my Volvo 240 which has barely much value on kelley bluebook.

            Even if theres profit to be made in an accident you can rest assured I won’t drive around with that in mind.

          • 0 avatar
            rnc

            Know in SC, all “totaled” means that if the, KBB value for example, is less than the estimated repairs, your car is “totaled” and thats what you get, you can keep the car, they’ll keep insuring it even. Just protects the insurance company from completely rebuilding an 81′ civic after being hit by a train (comprehensive, requires some comprehension from the insured)

          • 0 avatar
            Sam P

            Get another E91 Touring so you at least have two of them in case one gets pranged. Search Autotrader, there’s always a few with manuals for sale. Some even have AWD.

    • 0 avatar
      sitting@home

      I watched someone reverse into my car in a parking lot; almost negligible speed, scuffed bumper, dinged tailgate. If my car was a POS then I wouldn’t have been concerned, but I look after my vehicles so I said I’d like to get it fixed.

      I did some initial bodyshop legwork pretending I didn’t know who damaged it and wanted to pay cash and was quoted $1500. The other guy said he couldn’t afford that so he wanted to get insurance involved and the quotes jumped to $2500.

      The car is now approaching ten years old and is certainly worth much less than $10k. It seems absurd that the car, which is still cosmetically and mechanically excellent, could be written off by only a slightly more serious accident. I’d actually be more annoyed in trying to find a replacement new car as the choices for a stick-shift wagon have dwindled to almost nothing.

      • 0 avatar
        Firestorm 500

        Especially brown ones with a diesel.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        Hence the reason I’d be verbally-abusive were I driving said vehicle whose successor the manufacturer managed to screw up!! I now get an inferior car because of the negligence/carelessness/downright STUPIDITY of someone else!

        Yup, up early commenting on this (though not because of it–just can’t sleep, for some reason)! This topic “grinds my gears” since that bus incident that I mention up the thread!

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      “Unless if your cars new or 50 years old even the lightest bumps could send a healthy car to the scrapper.

      Though I could be exaggerating, please correct me if I’m wrong.”

      Well, I had a ’94 Toyota pickup that needed like $1200 in work for a snow-caused front-end collision two years ago.

      And it wasn’t totalled.

      Totalling happens when the cost of repairs exceeds replacement value of the vehicle.

      It takes more than a few years of wear to make “even the lightest bump” cause more damage than that.

      A slightly-heavier bump that sets off airbags starts increasing the cost significantly, of course…

      • 0 avatar

        My dad had the same happen to him with a 17-yo driving, but he didn’t floor it. He was in park, and shifted without looking when the light was about to turn green (turning yellow on the cross street).

        My dad saw the white reverse lights came on and started honking at him, and at that time, he then pushed the gas & front-ended my dad’s car.

        *sighs*.

        Edit:

        Mods: This was supposed to be a reply to the other person who got “front-ended”. I’m not sure how I ended up here (probably PEBKAC)

  • avatar

    I had someone rear-end me a year ago or so. Caved in the trunk. Tons of damage. Insurance paid out $3k. My biggest concern at that time was that the other guy was ok. I had no injuries, not even stiffness. He had no injuries either. I was stopped & he hit me at probably 10-20mph while I was stopped at a stop sign. Police ticketed him.

    I had the car fixed and it looked pretty good but a year later the trunk was leaking in multiple places. Had to take it back to the repair place AGAIN. Seems to be ok now.

    The whole thing turned into a huge PITA.

    I’ve had my car vandalized 2-3 times street parking it.
    I’ve had my motorcycle knocked over 2-3 times street parking it (different streets…)
    I’ve been in about 10 accidents (2-3 myself as a driver, NEVER at fault, about 7 as a passenger).

    What did I learn?

    1) Check if the other person is ok. That is the most important thing.
    2) You can’t have anything nice in the city/urban place (or be ready to write it off).
    3) To have somewhat nice things (more/mostly) protected, move to the suburbs & get a garage.

    I’ve never actually blown up at people in an accident, but I’m a pretty calm person in real life.

  • avatar
    mike1dog

    I had a guy go full meltdown on me in college when I tapped the rear bumper of his illegally parked in the middle of the road minivan. There was no damage to either vehicle at all, but he went into full finger wagging meltdown mode. While he was ranting, his very pregnant wife put her hand on his arm and he swept her arm away so he could rant some more. I decided I would never ever act like that, and I haven’t, even though I’ve been rear-ended a few times since.

  • avatar

    I’m gonna go ahead and let them have their sexism chatter and just say: the one time I’ve been rear ended, I was kinda pissed. We’d been sitting at the red light for two minutes, so there was no reason the Passport behind me should have left into my bumper… still did. My initial reaction was “REALLY?!” and imagined the worst– trunk lid and rear fenders pushed in, bumper caved, etc.

    I knew from the previous two lights that this SUV was jumpy, waiting for lights to change by hopping forward little bits of a time, but wasn’t expecting them to be behind me when it was time to turn left.

    When it was green, I asked my girlfriend to have her camera phone ready in case they tried to bolt. We got out, he was apologetic, and after crawling under the back of my car and popping the sides of the bumper back into shape, there wasn’t much damage aside from a scratch in the already-faded/cracked plastic, and a dangling license plate lamp. We exchanged info in case I found more (he, of course, was uninsured), but alas I let him go within the 24-hour window.

    Our family Ford Ranger wasn’t so lucky, when a serial rear-ending doctor hit our rear bumper to a 20-degree angle upward, and messed the tailgate up a little. My sister didn’t file a report which she should have (nor did I, as the damage was so minor in my case). To this day it irritates me that that doctor has gotten by with so many of these accidents because insurance companies are so willing to give up in order to save some bank.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Having been rear-ended a couple of times myself, I can sorta understand the driver’s reaction. Rear-end collisions, for the most part, just seem so unnecessary. So perhaps those experiencing them feel a particular outrage (although I admit they’re no more unnecessary than those caused by running a red light, speeding or other traffic mayhem)

    In both of my cases, I was at a dead stop . . . at a red traffic signal.

    In the first case, the offending driver, a woman, said she had been distracted by her crying baby in the backseat. Even though that was before the time I got involved in the kid business as a parent myself, I completely understood and said so. Her insurance paid for a minor repair.

    The second, time, more recently, there was no visible damage. The street was wet from rain and the offending car had bald tires. I suggested to the driver that it was not a good idea to drive on bald tires . . . he did not appear to me to be poverty-stricken, more like a professor type. He seemed like the kind of guy who treated his car like a refrigerator.

    • 0 avatar

      In the accident I witnessed I noted the sound of grinding gears before the truck lurched forward. I think the truck was sitting in neutral and screwed up when the driver put it in gear before the light changed. There was no engine reving just a grind, a pop and a bang when he hit the SUV.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      @ DC Bruce – I too have been rear-ended twice while at a dead stop at a red light. It’s mind-boggling that other drivers can be so unskilled and careless.

      The second time was on a busy street, so I waved the driver over to a side street so we could inspect the damage (which turned out to be only a minor paint scratch). He ignored me and kept driving, which incensed me. I pulled back out into traffic and eventually caught up to him. When he stopped to drop off his passenger, I pulled up behind him and wrote down his license plate number. Angry as I was, I realized the wise course of action was not to confront him; I let him drive off but made a note of which direction he was headed.

      Given the scale of the damage, I debated whether or not to call the police. The deciding factor was the suspicion that other driver might be impaired; the father of a friend of mine was killed by a drunk driver. As it turned out, an hour or so after sending officers to meet me and collect information, the police arrested the other driver. He was drunk, had an open container in the car, and had no license. It was his fifth DUI. He ended up going to jail, and not just for the night.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    I remember in the 90s being rear ended in an s10, visiting a friend, the girl got out of the other car sobbing, I just continued my conversation with my buddy, the hit tore up my bumper, she had no damage to her car other than scratches.
    I didn’t really care, I was more worried about the other girl breaking down, she had apparently been sick or something.
    It got fixed no big deal

    • 0 avatar
      ThirdOwner

      Hummer, now would be the time to ask those who previously told you plastic bumpers are just fine on trucks/SUVs if they still feel that way.

      Heavy duty vehicles need heavy duty bumpers, not $1000 of painted plastic.

  • avatar
    sco

    With the cost of repairing even relatively minor rear end damage running into the thousands of dollars, minor fender benders have turned into major paydays. And I’ve been on both ends. Our 2005 Odyssey was rear-ended, minor bumper scratches, slightly pushed up trunk, wrinkle in tailgate, you want that fixed or you want $4500? On the other side, my son rear-ended a neighbor’s 2005 GMC Canyon with the Canyon suffering a slightly bent bumper and slightly wrinkled tailgate. A $3000 payout from my insurance company and the Canyon was never fixed. I sometimes think the whole US economy runs on insurance payments and accident settlements. Given the dollars involved, the percentage of victims that are willing to let offenders walk is rapidly approaching zero

  • avatar
    vvk

    Must have been that special time of the month :)

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Twenty years ago, I was the rear-ender on a very busy road in Pittsburgh. It was totally my fault, being in a rush and probably doing 50+ in a 35 zone, with my mind elsewhere.

    At the last moment, I locked up all 4 tires on my 8-year-old car, and plowed into a 1-year old Accord. His car needed $800 in repairs; mine was effectively totalled but I had it rebuilt without filing a claim for repairs.

    I felt awful. The man I hit responded fairly well under the circumstances, even refusing medical help at the scene. But exactly a year later, I was served with papers saying he was suing me for neck-related problems and work loss, for an amount “in excess of $25k”. Since we both had the same insurance company, the only question was whether – and how much – they would pay him.

    It was settled after 3 years when they cut him a check for $15k; I don’t even know if his case had merit. Meanwhile, I was bound by this lawsuit from any financial moves, like refinancing my house. (The banks wouldn’t loan money to someone whose liability could be more than their house is worth.) So while everyone else was refinancing at 7% and less, I was stuck at 9.5% with the specter of potential financial ruin over my head. Fortunately, it all worked out, and my insurance company treated the settlement as a forgivable ‘first claim’.

    Haste makes waste, and can be very expensive when lawyers get involved.

  • avatar

    The one time another driver went nuts on me after an accident was in Florida, where I was taking a training course in Orlando. I was trying to exit a Kmart parking lot, turning left onto a major road. Traffic wouldn’t let up, so I changed the turn signal to indicate a right turn, and turned onto the road.

    What I didn’t know is that the person (am I allowed to identify her gender?) behind me got impatient and decided to go around me on my right and she hit my rental Thunderbird between the door and the front wheel. I was more concerned about my employers’ safety policies than anything else because nobody was hurt.

    The other driver, though, completely freaked out. Started screaming and yelling. Wouldn’t even calm down when the Florida state trooper showed up and ticketed me for improper lane usage.

    I fought the ticket via mail, pointing out that the driveway wasn’t wide enough for it to be considered a lane where she was driving, but more important, the facts of how the two cars were damaged indicated that I was already in the roadway when she hit me, meaning that I was on the road and she had to yield right of way. I didn’t know whether the ticket was because she was pitching a fit and the cop wanted to quiet her down or because I was an out of state driver. In any case, I won the argument and the ticket was dismissed.

    The last time I had an accident it was a rear-ender that was 100% my fault. I was looking for the address to Race Car Replicas, where I was going to interview the owner, and I knew the address was down the street but I did that stupid human trick of checking the address where I was at, knowing that I still had a ways to go. Traffic had backed up at a light, the roadway was wet from rain and the front tires were a bit worn and I had just enough momentum to slide under the minivan in front of me.

    There was hardly any damage to his car, the rubber mat on the back bumper was dislodged and the rear fascia scuffed. It was a 10 or 15 year old car. My car had about $2,500 worth of hood, front fascia and core support, along with headlights, crunched. Neither one of us seemed eager to call the police. He never called me. No screaming, no yelling. Just two adults acting like humans can act.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve had something similar to that. Pulling out of a Wal-Mart, there was some lowered S-10 Xtreme jerk leaving the lot the same time as me. This is the type of driver who drives the wrong way down the one-way parking isles, and cuts through the parking lines running around 20-25mph making the parking lot more like a shooting gallery.

      We get to the driveway, and I don’t know which way he’s going– appears to be left, since he’s in the middle. I turn on my right blinker and start to go to the nice, open right side of the driveway when they move to make a right hander. They’re pissed that I fumbled and flashed my highs at them, and start calling me names and making threats. Rather than be a child with all the “poopy face” name calling, I said “then use a signal and be a better driver!” Of course they drove off in a huff. No contact, fortunately.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      My last rear-ender was 12 years ago at an intersection near my house. In PA, you can turn right on red, and the guy in front of me juked as if he was going for it. But he stopped, and I gassed it right into his vehicle.

      He was driving a beater Nissan pickup with a homemade C-channel bumper. My car’s radiator core was bent and the hood buckled. All I did to his truck was scrape the rust off the bumper. He gave me some choice words for inconveniencing him, and drove off, leaving me with a near-worthless trade-in.

      • 0 avatar
        Russycle

        Same thing happened to a friend of mine, and she was the one who got the ticket. Since then, I’m always extra careful following someone doing a right on red.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I think, based on how you described the woman, that this had more to do with her sense of self-importance and “How *dare* you mess up my life by hitting my car” mentality than anything. However, no dignified person would put on such a display for onlookers to see.

  • avatar
    campocaceres

    When you’re dealing with an emotional overreaction, I’ve always just chalked it up to a reflection on the state of their life in general. If they can’t brush off a simple accident that insurance is going to pretty much take care of, these aren’t people who are happy with their lives. Or, they may be going through something terrible, and this event has put them over the edge. They are people to pity. Of course, that’s easy for me to say, I haven’t really had to deal with anyone to such an extent.

    What does piss me off, though, are the weasels who have to make an attempt at cashing in. I’ve had my time when I was distracted, let out the clutch, and banged the person in front of me when they were turning right and I thought they had already started to move when the cross traffic had cleared up. This accident was slow enough that there weren’t even scratch marks on the bumper, yet this person saw fit to fake a neck injury, have their kid dial 911, and sat blocking one lane of traffic for 5 minutes waiting for the fire department and medical services team to arrive, after which she turned off the road and turned on the water works. Their claim to my insurance company: $10,000. Thankfully, once my insurance company saw my post-accident pictures I sent them, they denied the claim entirely. People like that just disgust me.

    • 0 avatar
      fincar1

      My daughter was an ambulance EMT for a while in south Seattle, and was in three accidents – two while driving, the third when she was standing in the back with the patient and was thrown against the front of the rear compartment. The other two times the other car was one that stopped suddenly in front of the ambulance, and after the accident it appeared that the only English the occupants knew was “Neck hurt”.

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    In this case, what we don’t know is the words and attitude of the guy. It is possible he was being a total jerk. He may have been trying to blame the woman for the accident when it was quite clear he was at fault. That would send me off for sure.
    It’s amusing that we all to the last, assume the woman was “just being an irrational woman”, is it not?
    Good advice is to stay calm, gather as much info as you can and let the insurance companies do the fighting.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    And what we desperately need is a PSA campaign informing people that if you are in a minor rear-ender, no one is hurt, and the car is still operable, PULL OFF THE ROAD and exchange information!! The police aren’t going to tape off the area and do a full blown NTSB investigation. They are going to take names and vehicle info, and ask who hit whom. They don’t need you frozen in time and place to do this, while you tie up a lane of traffic during rush hour so the cop can see exactly what happened. This should be a ticketable violation in itself.

  • avatar
    White Shadow

    Boy, talk about apples and oranges. Here’ the problem–the first lady was rear-ended by another vehicle, so she did nothing wrong. The second lady (the author’s wife) managed to damage her vehicle without the involvement of anyone else. I’d be beyond pissed if someone rear-ended me, but if I damaged my car on my own, who am I going to be pissed at? Myself? LOL, not the same at all.

    • 0 avatar

      Seriously dude, you need to read the entire article before criticizing my point. I talked about three other minor accidents in which people hit me and not only did I not freak out, I let the people walk in each case.

      I only mentioned the issue with the van because it is fresh in my mind.

      • 0 avatar
        White Shadow

        I read the whole article, but I still can’t understand how an enthusiast (that’s an assumption on my part, I obviously don’t know you) could get hit by someone else and not be extremely pissed about it. Perhaps your car isn’t kept in the best condition? Is that why? My car is kept flawless and even a tiny scratch or dent would set me off if it was done by someone else. Why? Well, because I keep my car pristine and any damage at all means it’s not pristine anymore.

        • 0 avatar

          The point is that I CHOSE to react the way I did rather than to allow my emotions to run wild.

          I think I’ve written enough about all the cars involved, that most people know they weren’t pristine collectors cars. The 200SX was a $500 beater that had more heart than most people I know. I loved it, but blowing up in some poor girl’s face for what amounted to no real damage would have been pointless. I wasn’t hurt, either so no injury, no fault.

          It’s the same with the Freestar. I have really grown to like it, but I bought it knowing it was a used van that we would only need to use for a few years. I’m not losing any resale value because there are three or four touched up scratches on the side on the back bumper so, again, why bother?

          The MPV actually upset me. I was pretty low key about it but the guy could tell I was pissed by the expression on my face. There wasn’t any need to yell at him. My job was right there and we had a limited access parking lot manned by the police and I had him follow me there. Given the situation and my size compared to the average Japanese guy, I am sure he was plenty intimidated without me acting like an ass. The damage mounted to a popped clip on the bumper cover, something I popped back in. The MPV was such a nice van that he would have had to pay to repair it had there been so much as a scratch, so he got lucky. However, he would not have been shouted at because there was no point.

          Now all of these accidents were smaller than the one I wrote about, but the article is really about a person’s mental reaction to this kind of thing. If it is a hit and run, intentional or the other person is being an ass I would have no problem going off on someone. But as some other folks have noted, the only thing I can really control is my own reaction and if I don’t keep my cool I do myself a disservice by escalating the situation.

          • 0 avatar
            White Shadow

            Well that certainly explains your mellow reaction. If I drove a $500 beater or a piece of junk minivan, I wouldn’t give a crap if someone hit me, as long as I could still drive the vehicle afterwards. If someone just tapped my rear bumper, I’d probably laugh about it.

            Now if the same thing happened to my 100% pristine, mint condition M3, I think I’d be more than pissed. Does it make sense to you that the type of car and the condition of the car you drive can very well have an effect on the way that you react if you get rear-ended by someone? Makes perfect sense to me.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      The other damage I discussed on my previous car which was in the body shop whose loaner was T-boned: mine–from backing into a contractor’s ladder sitting on a scaffold, backstopped by a porta-john. Nice dent in the trunk. Thankfully, I was able to repair THAT out-of-pocket.

      When I traded that car on my current Accord, I was lowballed in general; minimum I should have received by ALL web indicators was $10K, but I received $8.5K. Now that I’ve read through this thread, I’m sure that the CarFax may have played some part. I would have expected perhaps a $500 deduction for the entire “package” from that body shop visit, not $1,500, but who knows? (I was trying like heck to sell the car privately, and was figuring a $300-$500 deduction, with full disclosure of the incidents.)

  • avatar
    skloon

    I got rear ended once, fairly minor little tap, I got out to check my car, the woman who rear ended me waved at me & rolled up her window prior to driving off- no damage to my car(Volvo 740) but my trailer hitch without ball had taken out her radiator, she drove off trailing steam and coolant without a care in the world

  • avatar
    Compaq Deskpro

    I frequently touch the bumpers of cars I park near, just so I know I’m pulled in all the way. I’ve never left a scratch.

    • 0 avatar
      brenschluss

      Judging by the number of park-by-touch drivers I see with various colors on their rear bumpers, I don’t believe you.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        +1,000,000! With all due respect, there is going to be SOME damage, particularly if you have a front plate.

        On my new car, I added ~$1,500 worth of 3M VentureShield paint-protection film. ~$150 of that, IIRC, was for the installer to fab a custom piece for the rear bumper, so that in the event of a parking lot incident which was part of the “package” for which my previous car was in for repairs at the body shop whose Focus received its own custom bodywork as the result of a careless BUS driver, perhaps the film, and not the painted bumper, would take the hit. (My last car had the front film, and the bumper was low-speed sideswiped in the dead of winter in a grocery-store lot. When the film was removed, there was ZERO damage to the bumper itself! The R&R of that one film piece: $200, $300 less than my insurance collision deductible, which a repair to that bumper cover would have exceeded (between the part itself, paint, etc.).)

        I will never have another new car without the PPF, front AND back! Insurance is required to pay to replace it if it is damaged in a more severe incident, and it will help with resale value.

  • avatar
    Beelzebubba

    Way back in 1993, I was an 18yr old college freshman working as a delivery person for a specialty printing company in Atlanta. I bought a new 1993 Civic LX in July of ’93 and it had 188k miles on it when I sold it in September of ’96!

    When my car was just a few months old, I rear-ended another car while I was on my delivery route. I was looking at my notebook to see my next stop and not paying attention to the road!

    It was my first (and to date only) at-fault accident involving another vehicle and it terrified me! As I was plowing into the back of the other car, the thought that I might cause bodily harm to another person made me sick with guilt! I hopped out to check on the other driver and it made me feel even worse when I saw that car still had the drive-out out tag on it! It was a brand new Mazda 626 and I had just destroyed the rear bumper, busted both tail lights and damaged the trunk lid.

    The lady driving it was 30-ish and dressed very nicely (and she was very attractive). In my state of panic/horror, I didn’t realize that I had a few tears running my down my face. She took one look at me and smiled, assured me that she was fine and all that mattered is that neither of us was hurt. The cars could be fixed.

    We exchanged information and the Atlanta Police showed up within minutes. I was ticketed for following too closely, which I deserved. But back then, any accident that occured within the Atlanta city limits required a court apperance by ALL parties involved!? I felt bad because she had to the take the time off work to go to court just like I did.

    I called to check on her several days after the accident and make sure that my insurance company was taking care of her. Her car was already in the body shop and they had her in a rental. She was exceedingly kind once again.

    On our court date, I arrived early and was sitting outside the courtroom on a bench. When she arrived, she saw me and came over to say hello and introduce me to her husband who came with her. He was just as friendly and kind as her. I was surprised to learn that he was a Paralegal at a prestigious law firm in town. I really dodged a bullet because someone else in her position could have sued the crap out of me!

    I heard from her the following Christmas when she sent me a Christmas card! She wrote a note in it telling me that they had fixed her car as good as new…..

    And I leared my lesson about ‘distracted driving’ and have kept my eyes glued to the roads for the 20 years since then!

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      That’s a very nice story, and it’s probably what my reaction would have been if I had been the not-at-fault driver (provided the other person wasn’t drunk or street racing, or something stupid) And back in 1993, I was too young to remember anything…lol!

  • avatar
    don1967

    “Better, I think, for everyone not to get too carried away lest we end up sleeping with the fishes.”

    Indeed.

    Guy jumps out of his car at a red light to scream at me over a minor traffic error, having no way of knowing that I’m a 200lb karate black belt returning from the dojo with three of his buddies. Now we’re just a bunch of old guys who pose no danger to anyone, but still it’s amusing to ponder how differently he might have behaved “if he only knew”. And more to the point, it’s chilling to imagine what could have gone down if he (or if one of us) had turned out to be a paranoid schizophrenic with a Glock.

    Honestly people, think before you scream at another human being. You don’t know who you’re dealing with, and besides that when you calm down you’ll realize that it wasn’t such a big deal.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      OK, OK, perhaps I’ll be a bit less verbal if I see that the other person might be able to kick my a$$ into next week, or as the above thread indicates, the driver is obviously distraught or in complete and utter shock.

      (And get this: I just remembered a friend of mine who was bumped several years ago. Guy behind her wasn’t paying attention, and despite the fact that neither of the parties were physically injured, an ambulance was called because the other guy was so shaken up that the police were afraid that he wasn’t going to be able to drive properly without a quick once-over. Dude had insurance, no financial hardships, he was just in complete and total “brain lock” because of what had happened.)

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    As absurd as it sounds, I was FRONT ENDED while fully stopped at a red light.
    Puzzled? Let me explain:

    This particular intersection has loooong red lights. Traffic always backs up, 20 or 30 solid cars. A person in front of me, put her car in Park to look up at something at her trunk. Suddenly, the light turns green and all the cars in front of her start to rapidly pull out, while the dozen or so vehicles behind start to angrily honk their horns.
    She hastily runs back to the car, slams the door, puts the car in reverse, and FLOORS IT!

    Even the police and insurance adjusters were having a laugh at it.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      I got front ended at a red light once. Big truck in front of me, for some reason decides he needs to back up, and apparently can’t see my Mustang in his mirrors (Lesson 1: Give big trucks lots of space). Can’t hear my horn blowing either. Taps my bumper, we both get out, no visible damage to either vehicle, I let him go. Only later do I find that during the impact my fan nicked the radiator….

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      I’ve done “check something out” and other stuff where I’ve actually unbuckled, but the rule of thumb should be “know your intersection!”

      When in doubt, wait ’till you can pull over to do this, and just sit and wait out the light! :-)

  • avatar
    rnc

    Forgot I had been rear ended once, was driving a mazda B2200 (original mazda one) and just happened to be rear ended by another B2200 (this was 95′ or so), this happened on the interstate*, we both pulled over, I walked back and saw the terrified look on his face and the reekingness of weed and realized that I too had just been smoking at that point and suggested that perhaps we could handle ourselves, he gladly agreed (we had our rear bumpers switched).

    *Old lady decided that as soon as she hit the off ramp it was appropriate to decelerate from 65mph to 5mph as quickly as possible, watched what could have been a 20 car pile up averted by alot of cars positioned at 45 degree angles all along the emergency lane and grass leading up to the off ramp, remember this lady specifically as a few weeks later ,she drove a 72′ two door caddy, she pulled out of a wendy’s and we hit her doing about 35mph in my friends nissan n2000 (whatever that little nissan death machine in the age of SUV’s was called, but it was a blast to drive.) and when we got out and walked up to her car, she was still shoving fries into her mouth completely unaware that anything had happened, he went to court to make sure her license was taken.

  • avatar
    Japanese Buick

    I got rear ended in my LS 400 at a stoplight a few years ago. Classic tapped while stopped story. We both looked at our cars, I had not a scratch but she had bunged up her Cherokee’s bumper pretty good. I said OK by me if you just want to forget about it, she was very grateful and we parted ways. Later I saw the car in a driveway and realized she lived nearby.

    Several people said I was a sucker for letting it go. There were too camps: the “you should have at least got $1000 from her” camp and the “you don’t know what hidden damage you might have camp.” Not much I can or care to say to the first camp. But several years later no damage has ever manifested itself.

    I come to this attitude honestly. Over 20 years ago my fiancé and I were tapped at a stoplight while on the way to the courthouse to get married. I was younger with less perspective and despite no apparent physical damage I insisted on a police report. The car that tapped us was a van belonging to social service agency and full of handicapped people being transported. The cop came, looked it over, gave an “OK if you insist” look, took our licenses and insurance cards. A few minutes later he emerged with a ticket for the other driver “Not because of the accident but because your license is expired”. The guy was crushed and apologeticly explained that he was recently separated and his wife probably was throwing out his mail including the renewal notice. He asked if he could get a warning and promised to clear it up in. 24 hrs but the cop wouldn’t budge. It may have cost him his job as a driver for that agency. My fiance’s car never manifested any damage. To this day I feel like a total heel over that incident.

    • 0 avatar

      Great story. The human mind is an amazing thing. It forgets my children’s birth year, my anniversary and even my phone number but it remembers every single time I did wrong by someone. You are not alone.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      OK, OK guys, you got me again! ;-D

      In this case, I’d contact the agency and plead with them to not bust the guy. (Perhaps the cop could have checked in with the court to see if some leeway could have been granted, as well.)

      But looking at this from my jaundiced “take responsibility” angle, the expiration date is on your license, and that you still need to be aware of it. Especially if such a transportation job requires a CDL.

      (Obviously, it could be understood that @JapBuick could have been less than pleased with this little dark cloud on the happiest day of his and his wife-to-be’s life!)


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