Friday, January 8, 2010

Stupid stuff I've done with cars

There is at least one person who is not going to be amused by this post, and he is known as my husband.

Yesterday, I stopped by the Board of Ed to pick up the 200,000 forms necessary to register Sabrina for kindergarten next year. I parked next to a fire hydrant, ran in and out of the building, then went to do a k-turn to get home. There was a leeetle ice patch. I skidded into the fire hydrant and some protruding pipe.

That "crunch" sound your car makes when it hits something is one of the worst sounds in the world. Also not so great: When you notice a bunch of nearby high school kids gaping at your car and snickering.

I managed to dent the right back door of the minivan. And the whole thing needs to be replaced, of course, because whenever you damage any little part of a car the largest part possible needs to be repaired or replaced.

Friends of mine reading this are probably cracking up right about now; my driving record is somewhat dubious. Over the years I have....

• Left the car running with the keys inside (three times).
• Backed into a brick wall.
• Rear-ended a car (but not THAT hard) at the mouth of New York City's Lincoln Tunnel (then briefly dated the guy I hit and you bet I did not pay for the new bumper).
• Left the gas cap on the trunk of my car and driven away from the gas station.
• Left my purse on the top of my car and driven away from the gas station.
• NEVER left my kids on top of the car and drove away from the gas station, for the record.
• Started driving with a back door completely open during college and when a guy I knew saw this and wildly waved his arms to alert me, I smiled, waved back and kept going till I realized there was a major breeze coming from back there.

I do not even want to think about how much money I have handed over to the auto body shop industry.

Dave does most of the driving when we're with the kids (I can hear you all breathing a collective sigh of relief). I think he drives too cautiously, which to me is just as unsafe as driving too fast. He thinks I should stop being a backseat driver and he is probably right.

What kind of mishaps have you guys had with cars?

Photo by seeyaonda.flipside


  1. at least you didn't also get a ticket for parking illegally by a fire hydrant!

  2. Barbara from BostonJanuary 8, 2010 at 2:19 AM

    I can relate. Me- I haven't driven in over twenty years. I was a pretty good driver - only one accident (ajudicated- not my fault)- but a tense one. My neck used to knot up - maybe a precursor of all the muculo -skeletal problems i have now. When I see all the stupid, boneheaded moves other drivers make today i am happy to leave the driving to someone else.

  3. Banging up your knee and your car...great way to start the new year - ugh!

    I have had my fair share of scrapes - but seem to have a penchant for people backing into my car on a driveway - 2 times too many! :)

  4. HA HA HA! I just love your recounting of your driving history...especially dating that guy you hit! Talk about making lemonade out of lemons!

    I am actually a VERY GOOD driver. So far, anyway. I don't fool around and I drive defensively. Whenever anyone has to go to any big city or travel a long distance, they try to find a reason that we "have to" go along, and they entice me to do the driving, because, even though we live in a rural environment, I am fearless in city driving. I can often be conned if I get to drive someone else's nice new vehicle! My car, OTOH, is a piece of old crap!

    I am just not phased by traffic, for some reason. When I am driving, I stick to my task--I don't fart around with radios or tapes, food, drink, or any of that--I do the "hands on the wheel/eyes on the road/"Not NOW--I am DRIVING!!!" routine. And DO NOT MAKE ME PULL OVER...because I WILL.

    I think I must have been a bus driver in a previous life, or something. Of course, day to day, I don't see much traffic at all, and I don't drive massive distances. I feel sorry for people who have brutal commutes every day, especially if they are commuting in heavy traffic. Day in, day out, that gets old. And I suppose, if I had to deal with that, the odds of my having accidents would, of course, go up.

  5. My 2 year old goes to a daycare in a highrise in downtown san diego, which has one of those underground parking garages. I took out the garage door at the exit when I was trying to get out of the parking lot as fast as I could b/c my newborn twins were screaming their heads off.

    It was not fun.

  6. Recently I scraped up my van on an anti-terrorism barrier leaving the parking garage at work -- I was so irritated because this car is only 3 years old and in pretty good shape. I was contemplating spending actual money to fix it, even though the damage is only cosmetic ... money I would just as soon not spend right now. You know what? After a week or two, the scrape didn't look so bad. Human beings are so adaptable! I also had witnesses, I'm sure I gave a nice dose of entertainment to a few security guards.

  7. I had posted about similar car ignorance yesterday. Check it out.

  8. I am sorry Ellen, but you'r givin' me a much needed laugh, this morning! In 2008, after a terrible trip to Myrtle Beach, I backed our new car into a pole in the parking garage at the resort! THE new car, that we had not even made the first payment on!Then when we got out to look at the damage, I opened the back hatch and a whole box of canned sprites fell out and exploded all over the place! They were spinning all over ther ground and I just sat down on the bumper and cried! Needless to say, the dent is still there and Carl still holds it over my head! LOL!

  9. Oh that was my morning giggle session! I've run over the cement stoppers in parking lots, thinking I could just pull through and forgetting they were there. Mind you I drive a beetle, so that was real fun.

    Then there was the time I was pulling off on the side of the road to go on some hiking trails with friends and there was a bush, it looked fluffy what damage could it to do my care? Only 20 scratches down the entire passenger side.

  10. I sometimes think I am obsessive compulsive being near cars. I always feel like if I even come near cars when I am parking or leaving a parking spot I might have scratched them even knowing that I can see them in my mirrors and that I didnt touch them...and then for those instances I cant completely see them in my mirrors..but havent heard or felt any bumps or noises..I still wonder if I might have hit them. I dont know why I am so obsessed over those thoughts as really the only thing I can think of that I have done was in college I backed into a car and cracked their license plate cover. I even sometimes will drive back around a parking lot just to make sure I didnt bump the car that was next to me...sounds like obsessive compulsive huh. I havent even told people in real life how obsessed I am about these thoughts. Oh and I will not even try to parallel park..I will park a little further away and walk.

  11. Mine of late have been either backing into someone while pulling out of a parking space or scraping someone while pulling in to a parking space. I now am one of those people that park out in the middle of nowhere if at all possible. I am less of a hazard that way.

  12. Oh, Ellen. Girl, I am legendary when it comes to cars. I was in three accidents before my eighteenth birthday, one a doozie that resulted in my car spinning across a busy street and winding up in the neutral ground (median to you). There was also an incident in a parking lot where I "tapped" someone's Mercedes about five times because they'd blocked me in.

    I've been better since then with only one incident coming to mind--backing into my uncle's rent-a-car. Sigh. I really do try.

  13. Only one mishap...and it was a doozy! I had my driver's license less than a month and I hit a pedestrian weaving through moving traffic. She was literally playing frogger across 4 lanes of traffic, and I was the furthest lane, moving into the turning at least I was slowing.

    She was ticketed and had a broken leg from being hit by my car.

    Talk about a great welcome to the driving world!

  14. People joke that I'm a jinx in cars because I've been in every accident my friends have had (I don't drive, due to mental illness).

    The worst was at 90mph on the M25 (major motorway) at three in the morning, where the front tyre of my buddy's car blew out, we went rolling down the road at high speed and my hand went out of the window. I had surgery on it right away including a skin graft, but my left little finger and ring finger are permanently deformed as a result, and the little finger doesn't move except at the first knuckle (the one attaching it to my hand).

    Resultingly I have pretty bad anxiety in cars, so I daren't learn to drive even though that would be so, so useful! I'd love to one day, but I'm just not ready yet.

  15. Well well...all this talk about cars really makes me wish I could drive. I wouldn't really care about the 'stupid' things I did with them at first!

  16. Rear-ended a car (but not THAT hard) at the mouth of New York City's Lincoln Tunnel (then briefly dated the guy I hit and you bet I did not pay for the new bumper).

    This is the best thing I have read all week.

    As a single 23 year old bad driver living and sometimes driving in New York City, I can only hope this happens to me.

  17. Ummm, about 2 weeks ago I was in a bit of an accident that wasn't my fault at all and happy no one was hurt. The body shop gets the car on Monday :-)

    Then, today I almost crashed our other car when I skidded on some ice only about 200 feet from my house! I shudder to think how I would explain two car accidents in two weeks to hubby. Plus, the girls were with me today! I think my guardian angel helped me out there. I hadn't been in an accident for years before this and hope this is as close as I'll come for many years to come!

  18. I thought I was the only one who had locked the keys in the car while it was running! I did it twice. Once when I was in a minor accident in a very bad neighborhood. I had a few people offer to break into the car for me, while I was waiting for AAA. : )

    I haven't had too many accidents (a few minor ones thankfully), but I do have a very hard time obeying the speed limit.

  19. none only have a wee permit but I have backed out and hit the curb backing up with mom in the parking lot

  20. Well, clearly I am in good company! AZ, I forgot to mention, when I was taking my road test, I had to parallel park. I backed into the spot without checking the rearview mirror and when I did I saw this guy behind the car LEAP onto the sidewalk—I'd almost hit him. Luckily, the instructor had been taking some notes and hadn't noticed. I didn't do the parking job right and had to do it again, but I still passed on the first time. Faith, if you are reading this, didn't you drive down a one-way street the wrong way and instantly fail?!

  21. I turned 16 in 1997, the year that spice girls were leading fashion trends....hence the 4 inch platform shoes I wore while taking a spin with my dad. I did good the entire time, until he asked me to pull into a gas station so he could get a paper. My platform heel got stuck on the gas pedal, and I panicked.....I slammed on the GAS and drove INTO the gas times. At least no one other than the building itself was injured =P

  22. Never left stuff on the roof, but I have driven with the handbrake on once or twice although that is not supposed to be possible!! Mostly I have done everything else you have done and always argue with my husband, but its MY car!! Thanks for the giggle and the knowledge that I am not the only one!! Jen

  23. Ellen is the only driver I know who can maintain constant eye contact with the person in the back seat (and I don't mean by looking in the rear view mirror). Good thing that she is a MUCH better mom than a driver!!!

  24. Let me say this first, I have all but given up driving. I hate to drive. It scares me to death. The last "incident" I had was at the parking lot at college. I had just gotten my new Mercury Milan and I looked both ways to back out of my spot and over my shoulder. I pulled out ever so slowly only to hear a CRUNCH! Dern it, dern it, dern it! The little foreign exchange student in the tricked out honda civic hit and I both backed out at the same time and bumped eachother.

    We called campus police and we both called our insurance companies. It was no ones fault because we were in eachothers blindspots. The little heathen tried to collect from his insurance company AND after they denied him called me to personally pay for it. NOT! I hate driving...

  25. my mishaps don't damage the outer part of the car, but the important parts that cause it to work and get from one point to another..... as in always "forgetting" to get the stupid oil changed - or changing the dreaded 'belts' and 'fluids' - it's a miracle my cars haven't broken down in the middle of any highways - my guardian angel always allows the problems to happen at a convenient time - for my schedule, never for my pocketbook....... whew!

  26. At least you didnt leave the keys in the car ,leave the car running and get on a cruise ship.But it was spring break,lol.

  27. LOL! When me and Hubby had just started Daing my car was in the shop and after a Red Sox Game we went to pick it up they had the spare, I had the origional. Needless to say I started it up with my key and forgot the spare was inside and shut the door soon realizing both sets of keys were in there! He never lets me live it down! I had to call the fire dept, K no biggie figure they'll just send someone over. Nope Huge Fire Truck and 5 Fire fighters!!!! Thank God the Dealership didn't have cameras in that section! They already think I am a nut! lol

  28. Oh, I've had my fill of stupid car decisions. Though it hasn't happened in awhile, I managed to get into two car accidents in a month! Talk about luck. Neither were my fault and they were similar stories, too. I spent some time at the junk yard replacing various pieces that mysteriously went missing. I've been "clean" for about 8 year now, knock on wood!


Thanks for sharing!

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