By on November 7, 2019

Just the other day, I was making a left turn onto a busy street, and just when I thought the course was clear, I look up to see a Volkswagen GTI bearing down on me from the passenger side.

Already halfway through the turn, I followed the long-ago advice of one of my driver’s ed instructors — acceleration can often get you out of trouble — and gunned it. The Nissan Rogue test vehicle protested a bit, but it gave me enough go to keep a VW badge from imprinting itself in the front passenger-side door.

I don’t know how I didn’t see the GTI. The day was clear, I wasn’t hungover or sleep-deprived or intoxicated, I wasn’t distracted. Sunny skies, dead sober, paying full attention, and I still missed a hot hatch blasting down the street.

At the next light, I pulled up next to the guy, ready with a sheepish wave. Perhaps I’d roll the window down and say, “Hey man, sorry! I simply didn’t see you.”

No chance for apologies, though, as Mr. Man was too busy talking to his broseph in the right seat and never noticed me. He turned left, I thanked God and other deities that nothing happened, and life moved on.

But it got me thinking. We all screw up out there. I’m sure even Lewis Hamilton makes the boneheaded move on the street every now and again. So, that in mind, how do we apologize when we KNOW we done messed up?

What do you do to show remorse to your fellow human when you make a mistake on the road? Let us know below.

[Image: Sam72/Shutterstock]

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41 Comments on “QOTD: What Do You Do When You’re in the Wrong?...”


  • avatar
    theflyersfan

    Sheepish look, maybe a little wave, mouth “My bad,” and hope it doesn’t turn into a “Ronin” or Bourne-like car chase through the area.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Yep, a wave or throw up my hands in a “my bad” gesture, but I do make sure they know I’m aware I screwed-up, because there’s nothing worse then someone who obviously screwed-up, but looks at you like it was YOUR FAULT

      Grrr!!

    • 0 avatar
      thegamper

      I just get mad at the other driver and pretend it was their fault. If they honk at me, I will chase them for miles and verbally threaten at traffic lights.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    youtube.com/watch?v=MxxH0lZSYgU

  • avatar
    NoID

    To quote Lady Violet: I wouldn’t know, I haven’t had the experience.

  • avatar
    Nick_515

    I drive a BMW, and i just got triggered by this thread.

  • avatar
    ravenuer

    Or, you could have rolled down the window and yelled, “If you weren’t doing 80mph, maybe it wouldn’t have been a problem”.

    Or something along those lines.

  • avatar
    Dan

    Buy her a pretty cake and then eat 80% of it.

    • 0 avatar
      Thomas Kreutzer

      If you don’t eat 80% you just know that part will end up in the trash.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        Not with a Transylvanian woman it won’t. She once went back to the table and finished the entire pizza by herself when she learned how much real money a bill in pounds converts to.

        • 0 avatar
          Thomas Kreutzer

          One of my best friends’ wives is from Transylvania. She’s quite charming.

          • 0 avatar
            Dan

            The best thing that ever happened to me.

            And drifting back on topic, the scariest place that I’ve ever been on the road. People passing on the opposite shoulder because someone was already passing too slowly in the oncoming lane. Which didn’t have enough of a gap for me to feel comfortable with as was. In the snow.

            There is no in the wrong there. There’s survived the trip.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I find a wave goes a long way. It certainly disarms me. We all think everyone else behind the wheel is a hyper-aggressive jerk out to ruin our day and when someone does something that in the moment requires the death penalty a wave of apology can remind you that we all make mistakes or we all appreciate someone giving way when they are not obligated to do so.

    When I do something boneheaded I usually think about it for hours afterward and I feel like the other person knowing that would get satisfaction from that.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      I think more people should feel the same level of shame you or I do. When it happens to me I just want to stick my head in the sand for the rest of the day.

      What gets me is the person who can’t possibly comprehend that they were in the wrong. My favorite was the lady that hit me in a two lane roundabout when I had the Miata. I was in the right lane and she was in the left. Right lane could turn right or go straight. Left lane could go straight or left. She decided that she was going to turn right from the left lane. Her first words when she got out of the car was that I need to learn how to use a roundabout. It was funny because when the cop got there, she accurately told him the whole story, somehow thinking she was still in the right. The cop just looked at me and I just said that’s the way it happened. He went into his car with our licenses and paperwork. He comes back and comes to me. “Here’s your license, registration and proof of insurance. Here’s a printout with the information for the police report. You can go.” Then he walks over to her and gives her back her paperwork, plus a “Here’s your ticket.” She was still arguing with him when I left. These are the people that are most dangerous. They have no concept of what they are actually doing. Public shaming would go a long way. Can we bring back the stocks?

  • avatar
    kosmo

    IIRC, the Germans flash what we commonly refer to as the “peace sign”.

    The V stands for Verzeihung.

    Great concept, IMO.

    • 0 avatar
      Carrera

      Oooohhh…be very careful with hand gestures. One must be politically correct and not offend anyone. Recently, the “OK” sign has gotten people fired as being racists. The peace sign can be seen as very offensive in…I don’t know…Madagascar and the driver could be from there so…better refrain from any gestures.

      • 0 avatar
        MBella

        I don’t know if it’s funny or just sad, but the whole OK sign as racist was a joke. It was meant to show the idiocy of some of these SJWs that freak out over everything. Of course in their typical style, it went way over their head, and has become legitimate.

        • 0 avatar
          tankinbeans

          IIRC, the episode of Modern Marvel’s describing the Autobahn and different rules of the road went into what various hand signs meant. The OK sign, when thrown on the Autobahn means “you’re driving like an a-hole.”

          I’ve never been and can’t confirm, but that’s always stuck with me.

      • 0 avatar
        schmitt trigger

        Didn’t George H W Bush actually offended someone coming out of a plane with a hand gesture?

        In addition to vomiting the prime minister of Japan.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    This is a great question. I have apologized to people due to my screw up. When I still had a truck I tried to pull into traffic only to have the rear tires sit and spin. The guy I was trying to get in front of had to jam his brakes. As luck would have it, we ended up at the same convenience store. I went up to him, extended my hand and apologized, stating that I thought I had enough room but my rear wheels spun. He was ok with it (or seemed to be).

    Mistakes happen. As long as we owe up to it with a wave or something it defuses the situation. I find myself giving left lane bandits, cell phoners and other bad drivers a thumbs up when I am affected by them. It confuses people and makes me laugh.. No issues.. yet.

  • avatar
    raph

    Take the stink eye and move on. Most people arent that confrontational. For the few that are offer an apology and move on while they angrily vent.

    Personally though I likec to remind myself everybody makes mistakes and try not to be a self rightous prick about it. I’ve learmed though not to expect the same in return.

    My observation is that people are continually brow beat and when the opertunity presents itself they do the same in return deapite whatever failings they might have of tbier own.

  • avatar
    lstanley

    I give the little false salute, fingers to temple then down. Hopefully they understand that this is me showing that I recognized that I was in the bad.

    On the flip side, a thumbs down and a shake of the head to those that make bad decisions when driving.

  • avatar
    Stanley Steamer

    I make a very wholehearted attempt to apologize in person by driving out in front of them and blocking the way so I can just quickly hop out of the car and without taking too much of their time run over to them waving my hands in the air frantically and apologetically. They usually understand before they can even hear me shouting my remorseful words and hastily drive off, which I sometimes find quite rude but at least they know I acknowledge my error.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    Response is proportional to mistake. If in a parking garage for example, full stop, both hands raised.

  • avatar
    MeJ

    The worse thing that I almost did was change lanes and take out a crotch rocket on the freeway, already doing about 100Km. I did everything right, checked my mirrors, shoulder checked, signalled and then started to change lanes. To this day I have no idea where that bike came from. He was hidden in exactly the right spot where I couldn’t see him, or he came out of nowhere and found my blind spot (I know those things can move quickly).
    Luckily, as I started to move into the lane I spotted him at the last second and veered back. I went to wave sorry but he gunned it and was gone.
    Most times I just apologize when I pull up to them. Most people aren’t as bad as you might think.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      He wasn’t in your mirrors because he wasn’t there yet. Those kamikaze bikers are routinely running 40-60 mph over the flow of traffic. That’s a football field in four seconds.

      • 0 avatar
        schmitt trigger

        That happens with Kamikaze drivers riding those powerful yet silent Japanese super bikes.

        That is one advantage of riding a Harley: You can hear them well before seeing them.

  • avatar
    A Scientist

    “I never apologize. I’m sorry but that’s just the way I am.”

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    “I don’t know how I didn’t see the GTI. The day was clear, I wasn’t hungover or sleep-deprived or intoxicated, I wasn’t distracted. Sunny skies, dead sober, paying full attention, and I still missed a hot hatch blasting down the street.”

    — Was it white, black or some shade of grey?
    — Did it have its daylight running lamps on?

    I’m sure we’re all aware of how ‘invisible’ certain colors of car can be under certain circumstances, even when the sky is perfectly clear (but maybe the background is dark.) Both my wife and I actively have our vehicles set to keep the DRLs on, no matter the lighting conditions while we see people even in poor conditions with their lights out…for no obvious reason–it’s already dark (or rainy) enough that automated headlamp systems have turned on and yet these people are completely invisible until the last moment.

    So I’m not sure you can blame yourself, here.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    I’ll usually mouth “sorry” or two hands up in the air and shrug. A sheepish wave is another option.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Yep, the “sorry” and wave are pretty much it.

    I think at least half of the situations where I’ve screwed up in recent years have happened while I was trying to turn right on red. One more piece of evidence that, at least in cities, right on red is a bad idea.

  • avatar
    Pig_Iron

    Last night, missed getting T-boned by 1/2 a car length in front of me by a dudette who ran a red. She was oblivious. Didn’t even tap the brakes. >:O

  • avatar
    snakebit

    Only last afternoon and night, I goofed up. I missed an exit on the interstate after a long trip across the Sierra Nevada’s, forcing a 45 mile detour and a delayed ‘pit stop’for both my spouse and cat before we could arrive home. Yes, I apologized, and vowed to look up and write down the correct exit number so this mistake isn’t repeated, as we’ll have to make this same trip once again by the end of the month.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    If you don’t have a NAV system in your car, try using Maps (Google or Apple, depending on your smartphone of choice) to help you make those trips. Even if you think you know them end to end, changes to the routing do happen and it’s nice to have a guide if you’re not using a paper map.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    I’m a gun it and get out of the way guy. I usually have the issue where I’m turning right, think the lane is clear only to have misjudged the next driver’s speed. I punch it and hope no poo’s come out.

    That said a few weeks ago I was honked at for turning right, into the correct lane. There was a motorist who was in the adjacent lane and didn’t like that I was moving next to him, even though I was fully in my lane and not swinging wide.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    I’m with the palms up and shale my head sorry but some are simply butt hurt and looking for anyone to unload on .

    Screw those jerkhoffs .

    -Nate


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