Getting over a traffic accident

Kangaroo

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I passed my driving test on Wednesday last week (also my 18th birthday). Last Friday I got in to a bit of a pickle with a car hitting me when I was turning left at an intersection. First of all I had to break in the middle of the intersection because a car was standing on the wrong side (that is my right and his left) of a bollard which I was to go past. He had driven the wrong way down a one-way street, leading up to his rather bad position.

Next think that happens is that a car hits me straight from the side. First I thought that it might have been my "fault", but when we checked how the traffic lights were working, I realised that the car that hit me had driven past a red light entering that same intersection.

Needless to say, that it probably wasn't my fault. That doesn't really help though. And it wasn't like I was driving as a loony either. I love driving fast, but due to the fact that I already have taken a racing license and raced a bit, there is no point of driving fast on the road, because it can't thrill anywhere near enough to get me going. Especially not at 7 PM in a rather tight city centre. Therefore a car on the roads is only a comfortable means of transportation.

No one got hurt or anything. My (well, my fathers) car is a write-off. It was just a Peugeot 205. Not his main car but just a fun cabrio for those summer days. Not expensive either. If I somehow should get all of the blame, it will cost about ?500 and I'll keep my license so that part doesn't worry me either.

I've driven twice since the incident and for the first time driving doesn't feel just as comfortable or natural as it always has. And during the last couple of days the crash just goes over and over again in my head. How do you get past that? I mean, I shouldn't have ended up in that situation with just two days on my license.

To make matters worse, I had a bit of an incident today again. I was to turn left of a 90 km/h rural road on to a dirt track, where you don't see more than 200 meter ahead of you because of a crest. When just starting to turn the engine dies because of a bit of some problems with its idle. That led to all of the servos dying and I just managed to get it to a halt on a little dirt track on my right (turning left sharply enough was just too bloody heavy). That didn't help with my feeling about turning left either..

So well, what I'm asking really is.. how to get past these things? I've always loved but at the same time had a lot or respect for driving and I still do, on both counts. But it has never felt a bit scary, until now.
 
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JipJopJones

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I just takes time.

I have a friend who was sideswiped about 2 months ago, and she is only just getting comfortable behind the wheel again.
 

Spectre

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Well, driving should be a wee bit scary. Not to delve too deeply into political issues here, but a fueled automobile in the wrong hands is far more deadly than a loaded AK47 in the hands of a terrorist. Cars are self-propelled-multi-hundred-kilo weapons; one should have at least a healthy respect for that.

It does not sound like you were at fault there, so you really shouldn't worry about it. Doesn't seem like there was anything you could do about it (except perhaps work on your peripheral vision a bit), so there isn't any point in obsessing about it. The best thing you can do is continue driving and 'get back on the horse that threw you'. In fact, drive more than you normally would if possible to help your psyche 'heal' or readjust.

If it helps, I was in an accident two days after I got my license many years ago. I'd actually been driving quasi-illegally for a couple of years before then (mostly small motorcycles) and I was happy to finally be 'legal'. I was driving my Toyota truck down the road, braked for a light, saw a pretty girl on the sidewalk... and promptly rear ended a car at the light, which ran into the new Toyota in front of it. Whoops.
 

Cobol74

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Treat it as "What ever does not kill you makes you stronger!"

I took my daughter out and she was amazed at my approach to driving - "He is going to do - so and so - and he would. ... She did not understand that through experience you gain knowledge and if you apply that knolwedge you can be a safer driver.

We have plenty of really bad drivers - sorry to say it but it is true - many (not all) are immigrants who seem to treat the UK roads as if they are at home, they are not.
 

EyeMWing

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The only way to get better is to get back in the saddle and convince yourself of it. It's really unfortunate that you got nailed so early because you don't have all that "I'm good at this." time to look back on.

Based on your description, you did everything right in both incidents. Whether the insurance folks agree or not is utterly irrelevant - don't judge your driving ability based upon their assessment of who was at fault. If you entered the intersection on a green light or other condition which permitted your left turn, NO MATTER what the lights said after you did, you have the right of way until you clear the intersection entirely.
 

prizrak

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It just requires some time really, I refused to take a car for a week after my accident. Now I tailgate, cut people off and drive like an Audi driver should :D It'll be OK, you are going to second guess yourself alot but thats fine and healthy.
 

nouseferaname90

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Personally, I was only down for a day when I was in a wreck. Then I hopped in another car right away, and realized the fun of driving and kept on motoring. and driving like an ass.

I have trust in the structure of the car. Its similar to roller coasters. I trust the structure, and as a result, I'm not concerned for my health whenever I get in. yes, I know there are rare instances when something random happens, and I suppose i could break an arm or a leg or something, but I just don't think about it.

It might also be the fact that I've been in an accident (passenger or driver) in at least 5 incidents over the past 2 years. I've honestly stopped worrying whenever I'm in an incident. I don't even get the shakes initially anymore (like I did with the first and worst incident).
 
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argatoga

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I was t-bonned by a 70s Mercedes going around 50mph in a Subaru Legacy. I was driving again the next day. Admittedly I had already had a couple years of driving under my belt. Just keep driving and make sure to pay more attention (even if it wasn't your fault).
 

TopGearManiac

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I had a huge a accident when racing a mazda formula car. I hit a concrete wall at 150mph. I slid off the track and hit the wall with the back of my car and then spin a couple more times. To this day I have trouble parking and reversing in a car. lol. Fortunately going forwards isnt a problem for me. I feel kinna weird when it takes me like 6minutes to park a car. People passing by give me weird looks.
 

Polygon

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My first accident didn't phase me much. I was more worried about telling my parents. My second accident wasn't so breezy. I had a head on at 50 MPH with an SUV. It totaled a car I loved and put me out for a few days.

The best thing to do is just right back in the car is start driving again. The longer you don't the more you might build up the fear of driving. Then you'll finally get in the car and be so timid that you could cause another accident. Just remember that accidents happen. Will you have another, chances are that you will. No sense in worrying about it.
 
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Posmo

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I do believe we have an expert on this matter here..
 

DanRoM

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Get your ass into the driver's seat and drive. The only thing that helps is getting back into the routine. Yes, at every intersection there is the possibility of getting sideswiped, but it's happening only very rarely. With every kilometre of driving, your confidence and comfort will grow back - if you let it.
 

Sevs753

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if i come off sounding like an ass, i'm sorry, i dont mean to.

but shit happens. just keep driving and you'll get over the crash and driving will soon start to feel normal again.
 

LeVeL

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I do believe we have an expert on this matter here..
yeah, you're better off just PMing ice :p

I've been in two collisions. The first one was about a year after I got my license; I was in the middle of a four car (well, three cars and a bus at the rear) pile-up. It was the bus driver's fault. Took me the rest of the day to recover mentally and then I was fine. A year ago I hydroplaned and hit some lady's Subaru. Wasn't upset at all - I just kept telling myself that the damage wasn't extensive, there were no injuries... at the end of the day its just some cracked plastic and bent metal, no big deal... life goes on.
 

jack_christie

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Getting more miles under your belt should help your confidence. Probably need to block out the crash a bit to, so it doesn't affect your concentration.

You should try and drive at least 10k a year in your first couple of years driving to build up road experience.
 

bone

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it's simply because you only recently bought your car

i have the same problem. in the company, cars are swapped between employees regularely (to keep mileage equal). EACH time i get in a different car, i WILL hit sth in the first week. afterwards i can drive it for over a year, but the first week, i HAVE TO hit sth

it pisses me off :)
 

SirEdward

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Just drive, at first you will be slower, then it'll get better.

After an accident where I rear ended a car (I wasn't even doing stupid things, just a series of unlucky conditions), I used to leave very very long distances between me and the car in front, then it got better. After I was rear-ended, I used to always check my mirrors whenever I had to stop somewhere, and I used to brake gently and early to let other people know I was stopping.

So... just drive again.

...and fix the idle problem in your car... :p
 

NooDle

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I took my daughter out and she was amazed at my approach to driving - "He is going to do - so and so - and he would. ... She did not understand that through experience you gain knowledge and if you apply that knolwedge you can be a safer driver.
This. After a while you just know what car is going to do what. My wife doesn't understand it either when I say "look at that Audi there, he's going to carve me up", and sure, he does. But I didn't crash into him or even get mad, because I knew it was coming
 

camelfarmer

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You gotta concinve yourself that A. It wasn't your fault - it was a strange situation, with the other 2 at fault B. Accidents happen, nearly everyone who drives is involved in a bad one at some point...

You just gotta move on. You'll feel better when you've driven for a couple of months or maybe longer.

That or go find that guy and total his car in the night. Revenge works.
 

bone

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You gotta concinve yourself that A. It wasn't your fault - it was a strange situation, with the other 2 at fault B.
QFT!!!!!!
i've had a few dents in my car, but yet every time someone asks, i insist i have never had an accident! the dents are from other people doing stupid things, that was not me having an accident!!!!

i'm the best driver on the road! (on my friends hate me for it - i'm the ass everyone else is yelling at :D - i realy need a beemer :p)
 
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