My husband and daughter walked away from their accident. So did the other people involved. But the lessons learned will last a lifetime.
Some things get easier as you go along as a parent. Other things don’t. Like driving. Or rather, letting your child do the driving. Our 7th child got her license two months ago, and it was just as hard as when her oldest sibling took her first trip to Safeway 13 years ago.
No parent manual can prepare a mother or father for the depth of pain that comes with releasing a child to the road.
- The loss of control.
- Knowing what and who is out there.
- Understanding that your child is going to learn best by experience and wondering how bad those experiences will be.
We’ve had close calls, but as of January 17th, 2016, we had not experienced more than a slight fender bender.
Our Car Accident
Then came the phone call. It was Chris. “We’ve been in an accident. And it’s bad. But we’re both OK.” He was disoriented. I could hear the sirens.
Our 21-year-old daughter announced that she was taking me to the scene. I was thankful not to drive.
I was in agony. What about the other car? He didn’t say anything about them. Chris said Kaitlyn was driving. What is she going to have to live with? What does “bad” mean?
We pulled up to the intersection, a notorious intersection for accidents, and I saw our car. My heart sank. I saw the other vehicle. My heart beat faster. Kaitlyn was on the curb and Chris was wandering around her. Police were directing traffic. I saw another family and they looked OK. I breathed a tentative sigh of relief.
It didn’t take long to find out that Kaitlyn had been turning left. A car across from her appeared to be turning right. The driver changed his mind and kept going. Her inexperience led her to assume all was well and she didn’t see him change lanes. Chris, in the passenger seat, yelled her name twice. She put her foot on the brake.
The airbag on the passenger side of our Honda CRV deployed on impact and no doubt saved my husband.
The airbags in the couple’s car helped them walk away.
The tow truck driver asked if we needed anything from the car.
I looked at him and said, “I bet you see some bad things.”
He clearly wanted to talk. I’m glad I asked, because I’m hoping what he had to say will help others. We were his 7th and 8th vehicles of the day, and it was only noon. His day started with a DUI accident. He said he gets paid by the vehicle, but he would rather go broke than see what he sees.
Lessons from a Tow Truck Driver
- Cell phones belong in the glove compartment. I see so many teens (and adults) sobbing at the scene who regret texting and driving.
- You’re never in a hurry. Never. You might not get where you’re going if you’re in a hurry.
- If someone waves you on, don’t believe them.
- When you’re stopped behind someone, always make sure you can see the bottom of their back tires. This is a safe distance.
- Pay no attention to people who honk at you because they’re impatient.
- The middle lane is the safest.
- Accidents are preventable. I know they’re called accidents, but they aren’t. (This he repeated multiple times.)
I recently got rid of my smartphone, in part because of the driving issue. I found it too tempting and a poor example to my kids. I now have a flip phone for emergencies. After speaking with the tow truck driver, I’m even more motivated to minimize distractions and stay focused on the road. I hope to help others do the same.
Chris and I shared our experience two days after the accident on his radio program Chris Fabry Live! Listen to the podcast here.