Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Second Guessing Myself

The next time I say I want to trade in the mini van and get a nice little car instead, it is the responsibility of everyone I know to remind me of this:

Yesterday afternoon on the way home from picking the boys up from school, I was sitting at a red light by home, talking to the boys about the day and looking at the note from Noah's teacher (usual stuff, nothing bad) when all of a sudden...


A car slammed right into the back of us. I looked up to find what looked like either a teenage driver sitting in his car with a panicked look on his face. The boys were talking a mile a minute but not really too upset, so I got out to inspect any damage.

The poor kid was apologizing profusely and it turned out that my van didn't have a single scratch and HIS car was pretty cracked up along the front.

At the time, I figured it was his fault, his car had the damage and I had to be at work in a half hour so I just told him to be careful and sent him on his way, without filling out a police report.

Afterwards, while I sat at work teaching, my head POUNDING with a headache, and later when my neck started hurting most of the night, I started re-thinking my actions. Yes, the kid probably would have to answer to his father when he got home.

But didn't I lose a perfect teaching opportunity? The fact that this kid hit me as hard as he did (and it was quite hard) while I was sitting at a stop light means that he had to have been approaching pretty fast, even though it was a red light. I'm thinking that means he was probably texting or some other thing, rather than paying attention to the road. If I had called the police, maybe he would have learned something about proper driving and what NOT to do when behind the wheel. What if he continues bad habits and causes more damage to someone else, perhaps even causing an injury next time?

So now I feel like I was an irresponsible citizen for not tattling on him. While I sit here writing, my ibuprofen has worn off and my neck is sore again. Is that my penance for not doing the right thing? Or DID I do the right thing...letting it go for him to deal with with his parents and hoping that maybe he will learn a lesson this time before he causes problems to someone else.

The least I should have done is break into a mini lecture about responsible driving, but I was so relieved that the boys were okay and not really freaked out, that I just wanted to get home and stop shaking.

So what do you think? What would you have done in the same situation.


Tammy said...

I would have been so freaked out at the time I wouldn't have known what to do.

Courtney said...

It's so hard to say, but with young kids in the car I probably would've called the police just in case their injuries popped up later.

Hope you get some relief soon.

Colleen said...

I would have called the police. Otherwise... I'd just be worried about not having done it. That whole "never leave the scene of an accident" thing would have me freaked out if I didn't call. I get worried about those kinds of things though.

I think I would have at least exchanged insurance info and notified my insurance company... because they're going to notify theirs if there was a lot of damage.

I hate to say that I wouldn't trust the kid to tell his parents the truth. But... that could happen.

bigbinder said...

Don't look back - you did the right thing, if you had reacted and 'tattled' you might worry that you were just acting out of anger... I'm glad you guys are OK!!! I hope your head feels better, but I mean that there wasn't any severe injuries.

bethn said...

Yikes! I"m glad you're all ok and so is your van. I don't know what I would have done. I think I would have been too shaken to think straight and probably sent the kid home, too.