Crash, bang and bingle.

Most times when I set off in my car
I contemplate the possibility of an accident.  It’s standard for me, a typical thought – today might be
the day on which I crash. 
In the thirty years plus that I
have been driving I have endured a number of bingles.  And yesterday’s was no exception, a bingle and worst of all it
was my fault. 
I took a short cut through a few
narrow streets around the corner from my house as I routinely do, my thoughts
ahead of myself.  I did not notice
the car on my right as I turned left. 
The damage to both cars was minimal
but enough to make an insurance claim, on my policy of course.  It was my fault.  The fellow into whose car I had
collided established that fast.  No
sooner was he out of his car than he asked a woman standing nearby to be his
My hands shook as I filled out the
details on a sheet of paper he provided. 
He was unshaken it seemed to me and when I asked if he had insurance he
said yes, but did not know with whom. 
‘The wife takes care of that
Perhaps that’s why he was
unshaken.  The wife might be the
one to get annoyed about the damage to the car.  The wife might be annoyed that some stupid woman wasn’t
looking where she was going and the wife might then have to deal with the
inconvenience of getting the car fixed.  
At least she won’t have to pay.  Small consolation. 
Am I trying to shift the blame here
by noticing this? 
I’ve been in both positions,
bingles that have been my fault and bingles that were not.  In any case the worst of it, besides
paying the excess and watching my annual premiums go up, is the inconvenience
of having to get the car off for repairs and doing without a car for however
many days it takes.  
The worst of it for me is the sheer
humiliation.  The sense of being a
dunderhead, an uncoordinated klutz. 
‘No self recriminations,’ my
husband said to me, kindly I thought. He who rarely has such accidents.  ‘There’s no point in going
over it.  That’s why you have
insurance’.  And as the insurance person said when I phoned to make a claim, ‘At
least no one was hurt.’ 
All this rationalisation helps of
course but it does not take away from my sense of humiliation, and the ripple
of anxiety that still runs through me after the event.  The memory of that loud crash, still
ringing in my head. 

16 thoughts on “Crash, bang and bingle.”

  1. Accidents are horrid, severely jarring to the nervous system and self-confidence. And they tend to replay themselves. Not nice at all. I hope you feel better soon.

  2. I had to look up ‘bingle’. Never heard the word before. The dictionary didn’t comment on its origin but it seems reasonable to assume that it’s related to ‘bungle’. I don’t drive any more. Not sure I even will again. We could afford a car but to what end? I have been involved in car accidents but only a couple I can remember where another vehicle was involved. I’m surprised there weren’t more because, like most youngsters, I had lead feet and I treated the accelerator like an on/off switch. The only accident that was actually my fault—the other involved a biker driving too close to me and running into me when I had to break—was between Berwick and Newcastle on the east coast. I was driving a hire car, a brand new hire car I should add, and I was tearing down this very straight road at about 70mph overtaking everything until I tried to pass this one car that didn’t want to be passed. As I inched by him up ahead I could see an articulated lorry bearing down on us. At first it was only a speck in the distance but as it got nearer and nearer it became obvious I wasn’t going to get by safely and yet, rather than slow down, I pushed the car past and just made it before the lorry wiped me off the face of the earth. In doing so I pranged the guy’s wing. Stupid, stupid, stupid. It took me a couple of minutes to calm down and stop. The guy was not impressed and accused me of trying to flee the scene of an accident which, technically, I had and I got charged accordingly—it was his word against mine but I didn’t dispute the fact. I was in my mid-twenties when that happened. It was quite the wake-up call.

    I think the last time I drove was when we moved here. I hired a firm to do the bulk of the work but my boss insisted I take one of the small work vans to handle the small, fragile stuff which was kind of her. I’d borrowed one of the bigger vans in the past to help with a flitting (that’s a Scottish term for moving house) but we could afford help this time and so why not? I used to enjoy driving, just getting in a car and heading off to see where we’d end up—my sister, when I was living on my own, would turn up and look to go for a drive quite often—but the roads are getting busier and busier and I don’t enjoy it any more. I don’t have to drive so I don’t.

  3. Stopped at a light I was hit by the car behind because he was hit by the car behind him. I saw it coming and stood firmly on my brake so I wouldn't hit the car ahead of me. She drove off and never knew. But, I knew the young man in the third car, actually a truck. Never been in an accident, just not paying attention when he came around the corner. I felt so badly for him. He delivered the jellies to a shop I worked in for a short time.

  4. You were not concentrating. Driving is a serious business, not to be taken lightly. There is no room for the mind to wander when you are driving. End of lecture, and I try to do what I state, but so few of us are perfect.

    You make mistakes and learn from them.

    Ah, must offer an apology to the person whose car I scraped past in 1979. Sorry, but you were parked too close to the corner. That I was drunk and could hardly steer is not the point.

  5. I know this feeling totally — it's similar to falling as an adult — embarrassing. I think the humiliation at causing a car accident has its roots in cultural sexist stereotypes, no? However, I recently caused a small "bingle" here in Los Angeles, and the man I hit was the absolute opposite of your man, who sounds to me like a bit of an asshole. I hope your queasy feelings pass quickly —

  6. it really annoys me when the person not at fault gets angry and self-righteous as if they have never been at fault in a fender bender or a near miss. Possible but highly unlikely.

  7. Accidents happen in this world, filled with strange coincidence. And that is exactly the reason people carry insurance.

    Material things can be repaired and if not they can be replaced. Dwellings of wood and metal, mortar and stone are of a completely different realm than dwellings of flesh and blood, bone and water.

    Good to hear no damage to any dwellings had taken place in this accident, as accidents do happen in all realms of this world.

    It's an imperfect place, which has only one way to be perfect. Through learning to be responsible, being responsible, and forgiveness.

  8. There are many times when I'd rather not drive, jim but i persevere because the distances I need to travel for work and other things can be large especially with limited time between appointments.

    It's getting better and I use the trams more.

    That accident of yours sounds nasty. And to get into serious trouble legally over it must have been horrific.

    On a lighter note, have you noticed the voice recognition clip on my Face Book. Have a look if you can. it's Scottish and to me hilarious.

    Thanks, Jim .

  9. it's amazing how the business of accidents can have such ripple effects, Joanne, but yours sounds like it had a happy ever after despite the trauma for that young man.

    Thanks, Joanne.

  10. You're right Andrew, I was not concentrating as hard as i might at the time of the accident. I've concentrated hard ever since. in fact I'm a bit spooked every time I get into the car now, but that's not such a bad thing.

    Thanks, Andrew.

  11. Queasy feelings have passed by and large, Elizabeth, but there are residues. I'm sorry you had such an experience too, but at least your fellow was reasonable. Mine was reasonable, too, despite his deference to 'the wife'.

    Thanks, Elizabeth.

  12. I'm not sure the fellow in this instance not at fault was so much self righteous, Ellen as he seemed distracted or distant. He did not seem to mind at all. Strange that. I wondered therefore whether his wife might bear the brunt of the inconvenience but I don't know. still I was a tad traumatised, so perhaps I judged it all inaccurately.

    Thanks, Ellen.

  13. You're right Dusty Who; we can learn from these experiences, as inevitable, unexpected and at times unavoidable as they might seem.

    Thanks, Who.

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