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Tell Car Talk Your "First Accident" Stories!

My first accident was while driving a '57 Chevy Bel-Air. I was watching my date and a wooden pole suddenly popped up in the road. We were not hurt but the pole snapped in half. I wrote a nasty letter to the highway department but they never responded. My dad and I straightened the bumper the next day.

If it’s a modern bug, it’s as safe as any other car its size of its era.
If it’s air cooled, you’re lucky to still be here. Thank God I never got hit in my '61 Bug.

We all must be old farts as my 61 olds dynamic 88 is in the newer reports of car accidents. Had a bud, he tricked out his bug, 60’s or so, custom blue sparkle paint job, mag wheels, hot looking bug, a farm tractor hauling something made a right hand turn, he did not leave enough room, and the whatever caught his rear fender, spun the bug around 3 times and ended up a total loss. It was within a month of all the upgrades.

Well a 59 isn’t exactly new. Pre air bags and pre seat belts. I got shoved over to the shift lever so think a belt would have made it worse. First thing I did though when I got my replacement a week later was to put belts in it though.

"We all must be old farts"
Guilty as charged. :lol:

My first accident was when I was 16 and a new driver. I went to a friend’s house one Saturday morning to pick him up so we could go to the open house at Vance Air Force Base where they were going to have the Thunderbirds doing their thing.

Less than a block after pulling out of his drive he distracted me and I jumped the curb with the RF wheel. It put a tennis ball size ding in the bumper and bent a speed limit sign to about a 45 degree angle. My buddy said just go on but I felt it should be reported.
There were 2 old men sitting on a porch right in front of us playing chess so I asked them to call the cops.

Two cars full of cops later they were accusing me of doing 65 in a 30 when the reality was that I was only doing 25. I vehemently denied going that fast (no way the car would hit 65 in less than a block…) and the cops called me a liar. It continued with me getting madder and madder…
The 2 old men stopped their chess game and approached the officers on my behalf. Both of them told the officers there was no way I was going 65 and that they witnessed the entire thing.

The cops told them they were not involved in the accident, to shut their mouths, and to get back on the porch or go to jail for obstruction.
So instead of what should have been a minor improper driving charge I was cited for reckless driving with excessive speed. For someone making 1.25 an hour in the maintenance dept. at a local university that ticket pretty much wiped out my week’s pay. :frowning:

@ok that so much reminds me of a biycicle accident I had 3 years ago. Riding my bike, racing to keep up with a bud in his car, caught up to him at a stoplight, now after many years of riding not sure exactly what happened, but wheel got caught along the curb and did a superman into a sign post. Now the sign post is still bent to this day, a brinks or likewise truck was there, opened the back door and asked if I was ok. I was, scrape of knuckles and bruised collarbone, made somebody laugh I am sure, but rode away ok more or less.

@Barkydog, you’re very lucky to not have suffered worse injuries. At least with my incident I was surrounded by steel.

We all must be old farts

Can’t speak for the other posters, but I’m definitely approaching the geezer class rapidly … lol … I read an age-demographic study of folks who subscribe to a particular car restoration magazine (in England) which said the most populous group of subscribers was in their 60’s, and the next most populous was in their 70’s. This doesn’t correspond to what I see at the auto parts store and tools stores tho, those customers seem to be in their 20’s and 30’s mostly, shopping for parts and tools with a few geezers like me.

Many geezers have the restoration work done for them! So a young guy may be shopping for a part to install in the geezer’s car. I have several friends in their 70s who have classic cars as hobby cars. They seldom do any of the tough work themselves.

A local garage specializes in working on older vehicles like Mercedes and vintage sports cars, the staff is young and enthusiastic. The most seen cars there are Mercedes SL coupes and convertibles.

1968 Dodge van ( new to me in 1973, first personal vehicle ), long wheel base, took out the three rows of rear seats and mounted carpet over padding stapled to plywood in halves… . fold one half over the other and slide out the carpeting to load with rock band gear.

  • returning from a christmas band gig in Chinle ( prn; “chin-LEE” ) Arizona one frozen morning, going east on snowy roads ( Az 264, Us 191 ) plowed, so far, on just one side . . the OTHER side.
    I, one guitar player and a tightly packed load, toodle along on the wrong side of the road returning to the icy side for oncoming but rare traffic.
    – don’t get ahead of me yet. –
    all of these passing vehicles go by without incident, each time returning to the wrong side of the road.
    then ?
    the next oncoming vehicle to approach is a fuel tanker semi.
    • I’m sure you all know about the air WAKE produced by a semi ?
    • NOW you can get ahead of me !
      yes . . the wake pushes the van into a right slide and when the turn-corrected front wheels make contact with the dry side ?
  • yep, you’ve already gone there.
    the van spins around back to the icy side, now facing west, and slips into the soft snow on the roadside . . did NOT roll as I was ready for, but sat there listing over to the left . . listing . . leaning . . leaning more . . and . .PLOP . lays over on its left side like an elephant laying down for a nap.
    so there I lay quietly waiting for Paul to climb up and out the passenger door, now facing the sky.

so we stand at the side of the road waiting for the next car to come for help . . the other four people in the band.
later to tell us that they all said ‘‘hey look a wreck’’ . . a quarter mile later they snap ‘‘HEY IT’S KEN AND PAUL !’’ . . SCEEEEECH.

how to anticipate the wave effect of correcting into a slide and pre-steer to catch the next wave.

Man, it’s July. I don’t want to think of winter yet. Just glad I don’t have to drive 100 miles every day any more.

@“ken green” Wow! Not fun.

I was 3 years old and my grandmother had left me alone , sleeping in the backseat of her prewar Studebaker Commander.near the top of the hill on Main street in Cattargus NY. to run into a delicatessen.

I woke up and climbed into the front seat and was standing on the seat turning the wheel and shifting the gears. Naturally I knocked it into neutral and started down the hill steering as I went.

A man coming out of a bar saw what had happened and dove in the passanger side window and got his hand on the brake, I was very disappointed.

I don’t recall if I actually hit anything so this might not qualify as my first accident.

Back in the day I was driving a 75 dodge b200 van which was an old Bell telephone truck, slant6, no power steering or power brakes, but it didn’t need power brakes because it had highly efficient 4 wheel drum brakes that self energize and therefore don’t require a booster… Anyhow This van was a sight, It was rusty,and had a really bad paint job to cover up the Bell telephone graphics. The interior had two low back bucket seats, no radio, no nothing. Just a heater and some seats I used to drive it around with the doghouse off (I had it stored in my shed) because I always had to fool with the carburetor to get it to start when hot, (I think the choke stuck).

I used to drive the van everywhere when it was in better shape, I loved it because it was fun to bomb around in and I could haul a dirt bike in the back. I even had used the old clunker on the dating scene. I had one girlfriend that always wanted me take the van because it was my one vehicle I let her smoke in. I didn’t care for her smoking but we got along just fine and benefit of that is there was alot more room in the van than my camaro… Anyhow…

It was getting really rusty and I quit driving it everywhere, I only used it to haul stuff and when my car was laid up.

At some point a rear brake line rusted out and I lost the brakes, I was short on cash at the time and just used the van to bomb around on back roads with to visit friends and family, so I disconnected the line going to the rear and plugged it with a bolt.

Due to the fact the Van still had powerful front drum brakes It still stopped perfectly. I drove like this for a while and had no issues… Until the day I was pulling into a friends driveway, now this was an Indiana hill country driveway, basically it was a land bridge with a ravine on both sides, well as I was slowing down to make the turn one of the front lines blew out and suddenly I had no brakes.
I was in the middle of a turn when this happened and I was going too fast to make the turn and tried my best to crank the non power assisted steering but no luck. I went off the edge of the driveway and hit a tree. The van stalled.

No factory seat belts in the van so I had some ratchet strap lap belt setup rigged but I wasn’t wearing it, I hit the steering wheel a bit but I was ok.

It had to been a sight. I was wearing no shirt, barefooted, no engine cover on the doghouse, piece of junk van hitting a tree, boy I wish it was on video.

It damaged the bumper, grill and hood but it started right back up and Away I went.It was a good van.

That was the first time I damaged a vehicle unintentionally and hit something I didn’t intend to.

I was about 16 when by brother was teaching my how to drive. He took me out to a new development that had all the streets already paved and posted with all the usual traffic signs, it was perfect for learning how to drive, no one around for miles. While practicing stop and go traffic (manual trans) he got fed up with my breaking because I would stop the car in a way that would make him get jerked back into his seat. Finally he tells me to ease into the brake and gently stop so I wouldn’t give my passengers a headache. Hours later back at the house, he lets me get behind the wheel again to practice getting the car in and out of the garage. On my first try getting it into the garage I over revved it and picked up a little speed (the garage was on an incline and I didn’t want to stall the car). I tried to stop following his suggestion of easing into the brake…what I did was I bumped a refrigerator full of beer that was in the back of the garage. That old Frigidaire spun a full 360 before coming to a stop. My brother and I just look at each other, then he says “stop however you want to, just stop”. We then go and open the fridge door only to have a beer wave splash us up to our ankles, followed by a little beer waterfall down the incline and into the street. Yup, my first fender bender was with an old fridge.