Let’s get straight to helpful things for accidents from the roles we all play. Observe your function as a driver, officer, and first responder of all types.
Drivers – ‘Rubber Necking’
Although the habit is hard to break, it really needs to ‘go away’. Maybe we need to address our perversion for violence and nosiness. In my accident, I saw at least a dozen people run over debris and an equal amount sit inches from an accident because they couldn’t manage the scene; as I stood in the middle of the street with live wires.
Police – Hospitality
I must have had the ‘luck of balance’ to work with equally opposing officers. One officer abrupt and accusatory was consistently abated by the other. Can you think of a time when this would ever be helpful? I can’t think of enough words to describe how out of sorts this interaction made me. If you are a police officer or first responder, there’s a chance you haven’t heard the following words before: be gentle.
Friends & Family
Perhaps this is the most important. Unless you have a reason for asking what happened, don’t ask. In 20 minutes, I told the other party, 2 witnesses, 5 passers-by, 2 officers, my boss, city workers,… you get the idea. Perhaps we can all use coaching on crisis testimonies.
In your rampant thoughts of the events, release the thoughts of “what went wrong”. By its nature, an “accident” is an accident. I felt lower than I ever have, and each finger pointed to the holes in my existence. Don’t reflect on how great or crappy your friend’s car is and how impossible or inevitable an accident was.
Don’t address the politics of insurance, police incompetency, or drivers’ stupidity.
We are confident that we know every protocol for car accidents…I didn’t. Ok, maybe I did, but it sure flew right out for a while! And thanks to police and friends, I knew all my mistakes before the night’s end. So coach us toward the appropriate steps.
While I was not at fault for my accident, I warn us of the manifestations of our minds. My brother has always warned me, “sis, once you have your first accident, you’ll be less nervous and know it’s not as bad as you think.” Needless to say, I’m always nervous about a crash collision. I’m always thinking about them. Taking pride in all the work on my little cash car, I’m always focusing on the mistakes and dangers. What does that mean to you? I relished in beating myself up for using my ‘feminine powers’ to will that accident last night. Perhaps we have some life lessons to learn from car accidents about how to live with ourselves and others. For now, I’m going to try foolishly simply being still.