Lessons From My Car Accident

Have you ever been in a car accident? Two weeks ago I was sitting in traffic, at a red light, when out of nowhere a car plowed into the back of my hand-me-down 1999 Cadillac DeVille.  I wasn’t expecting the collision and it took me a few seconds to realize what had happened. The car was totaled and I ended up being back-boarded and taken away by ambulance, and I still have some pain in my neck and lower back.  (I am sure those ambulance drivers are still talking about getting all 7 feet of me out of that car.) So, during Christmas and New Year, on top of everything else, I have been dealing with body shops, doctors offices, insurance companies, rental cars and looking for another car, but God has also reminded me several truths as a result of this trial that I would like to quickly share them with you.

1. Things are replaceable and people are not. This is what I kept on telling the inconsolable person that hit me. Well, I only understood about every other word this person was saying through their tears, but they were very sorry about the damage to the car, my neck and back, but I assured this person that we were going to walk away from the accident and to give thanks!

2. It could have been A LOT worse.  Once I got to the ER, I quickly realized how much worse the damage could have been. Now, I’m not saying I’m glad that somebody else that was involved in a more serious  accident, and not me! I am just saying that I was very thankful that the accident was not as bad as it could have been!

3. Driving is for real!  My wife will tell you that I am a very slow driver, but driving feels like a video game sometimes doesn’t it? Sometimes what we forget is that our split second choices, mistakes or misjudgments on the road aren’t fixed by the reset button on the Xbox console and can have really serious consequences. I was reminded that more by what I saw in the ER than my accident. And, as my 10 year old daughter talks about driving someday—Lord help me, I realize how serious driving can be.

Do you pray before you get in the car? Have you ever been in car accident? How about a close call? For all my parents out there—What was it like to let your children start to drive for the first time?

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  • Elizabeth

    The first Sunday after Katherine had her license, she drove herself, Charlotte, Timothy and William to youth choir at 7:15am. As she drove off down the driveway, and turned onto the road, I thought, “There goes my family!!” But then you realise, that you can stay in bed a while longer, so there is always an upside.

  • Eric

    I was in a car accident at 55 mph in 2008 and walked away from it with a couple of scratches and a completely totaled car. I remember looking at the car and not understanding how I didn’t look as bad as my Mazda3. I believe a car accident can be a blessing. I know it was for me or atleast I wanted to know why it was allowed to happen. Learned a valuable lesson of what to put my focus on.

  • The Ordained Barista

    Yes, that is toooo funny! I don’t know if I would be able to go back to sleep on the first Sunday, but after that I would be golden! Ha! Thanks for sharing! I need to ask Katherine about that first Sunday and see what she remembers.

  • Young

    Still looking for the upside, Elizabeth…maybe because the first teenage driver in our family is a boy….I think I should pray more often…now that we have two teenage drivers in the family.

    My Dad was in a car accident and eventually had to have surgery to remove a subdural hemotoma…he’s fine now but that was a nerve-wracking experience!

    BTW I’m so glad you weren’t seriously hurt!

  • Bhicks1052

    All you can do is teach them well, pray and send them out. Letting Jess drive after Jamie’s accident was one of the hardest things to do, but we did……..

  • Kimberly Jefferson

    Hi Barry!

    Point #1. Very true! I have learned that lesson more than once but the first time I learned it was when my life was in jeopardy! It didn’t take long for me to realize, I was going to be okay and I could replace anything if I really wanted to, was it worth it NO!

    Point #2 A lesson I recently had to be reminded of because I kept thinking everyone had it better than me. God taught me a lesson by opening my eyes to what was going on with others, 3 people close to me had some very sad experiences last week. I sat down and asked God what are you trying to teach me as I was crying, then it hit me when my one friend said, do you really have it that bad. I said no, and said to God thank you for the reminder.

    Point #3 So true about the video games, I don’t have a license but tried to learn and realized that I shouldn’t have a license because of my seizures, even though they are under control, I don’t have moments where I could make a drastic mistake because of my seizure disorder. So I am thankful for the bus system and friends :)

    Okay my 18 year old got her license last summer, my oldest was learning to drive. What did I learn after the heart attack and horrible worrisome thoughts. DRIVING LESSONS!!! Get them the best you can, you might have to save for a 1 on 1 driving instructor but it is well worth it. It was expensive for one hour I think it was like 45 dollars but it was so worth it because they are both excellent drivers. They get to learn what we might not remember to tell them.

    Have a blessed night :)


  • Terry Mc

    Hey, Barry! Happy New Year to YOU! I thank God that you weren’t seriously hurt and that your wife and none of the kids were in the car! I am also glad that you can find some humor in the event: the picture in my head of the Ambulance Crew getting that tall frame out of the car, and your big feet sticking out over the end does tickle me a bit, I have to say!

    Every vehicle-involved accident that’s happened in our family, the motto has been “That is why they are called ‘accidents’ and not ‘on-purposes’. We have been extremely lucky in my family, *knock wood* that any accident, even the worst one where my brother totalled the car with Bonnie and I inside, when we were 11, we have all walked away, eventually. I do pray while in the car. I pray to keep my focus when I’m over-tired, and for others to keep their focus. I mostly yell at people on their cell phones, SUPER pet peeve of mine!

    Not being a parent, I’ve never had to deal with putting teenage drivers on my insurance, or worry about them everytime they take the keys. But I have taught both my neice and nephew, and other’s neices and nephews how to drive. And all you can do is give them the benefit of your wisdom and experience, go over the aspects (parking, turning, traveling distance) as many times as it takes for you to feel comfortable in their abilities. Also, have different adults that the children respect and listen to take them out. This gives them a different perspective, and they learn something new from each person. I have to say, the ones that I have taught, are confident and careful drivers, and I’d get in the car with any one of them. That still doesn’t help with the worry that your babies are now in danger. You are a parent. As a parent, you have 3 primary jobs. 1. Love and care for them. 2. Worry 3. Drive them crazy. All else is just gravy!

    Happy New Year, and I hope you’re feeling better soon.
    Terry Mc