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Old 16th September 2021, 14:30   #1
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Default Regaining confidence to drive, after an accident

This is a slightly off beat post-however, one that lot of us have perhaps faced. If this isn't the right sub-forum, I request the moderators to move it one that is appropriate.

My daughter turned 18 a couple of years ago. She was keen to learn driving and did so. She obtained her driver’s license and was slowly gaining confidence. She was comfortable driving my Kona Electric around the city. However, she was still not allowed independent trips and one of us parents would always ride shotgun. Then the COVID inspired lock-down came into force. This, along with the weekend curfews, resulted in a situation that she could not drive for over a year.

After a gap of almost 15 months, we took the car out one Sunday afternoon- a time that I thought would be quiet. She was driving at a very sedate and safe speed, very well after the gap I would think. I was, as usual, riding shotgun.

All of a sudden, out of nowhere, came a mini-truck (of the tata ace type), overtaking at high speed from the left. She braked the car, however, the rear of the truck swiped the front fender of the Kona. A protruding edge of the welded door of the truck, I guess, yanked off the entire left fender, lights etc. She instinctively brought the car to a complete halt safely. No one was injured.

The mini truck was being driven by a 10 year old, with his inebriated driver-father in the passenger seat. Photographs taken, police arrived and confirmed the situation of minor driver with drunk co-passenger etc. That story is for another time perhaps.

The matter I want to bring up, is this:

1. Daughter was driving correctly and safely.
2. She had the reflexes and the presence of mind to stop the car in a straight line. She resisted the instinct to turn away to the right, which would have resulted in us running into the tall concrete road divider-with a greater chance of injury.
3. She was not at any fault. I cannot think of anything she could have done differently to avoid this collision.
4. However, she feels tremendously guilty for having “caused” the accident, and the resultant very expensive repairs (all of which was covered by insurance). More so, she was quite spooked by the way the police handled the driver of the mini-van. As children were also involved in the fracas, she was even more disturbed.
5. She refuses to drive any more, despite this entire episode being almost 6 months behind us.

I think strongly, that driving safely is a life skill, that like riding a bike or swimming, all of us should be comfortable with.

So how can I help her regain her confidence?
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Old 16th September 2021, 14:46   #2
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Default re: Regaining confidence to drive, after an accident

I think the first step would be do some long road trips with her in the passenger seat so she stops being tense and stressed out anticipating a hit even while you drive. Next you should verbalize your safety precautions as you execute them when driving on the road. While it was not your daughters fault certainly demonstrating a cautious approach while approaching intersections and turns and desensitizing her by safely executing various maneuvers including safely overtaking should be a good step. Next she has to come back home and sleep over it after the few road-trips. At least I have found many stressful pressure learning tasks to ease out because I let go and walk away and have a few weeknights of restful sleep without worrying about it. This helps me come back recharged with a renewed confidence at tackling the task.

Later you could start making gentle non-pressurizing enquiries with her if she was ready yet to try and then sit as the passenger on the first few trips with her driving again.

HTH

Last edited by Ragul : 16th September 2021 at 14:48.
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Old 16th September 2021, 14:48   #3
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Default re: Regaining confidence to drive, after an accident

As father, its our responsibility to give the training to our kids to drive responsibly.

My first step would be to enable her to handle all repairs /insurance work etc and help her understand it is so easy to get the car to original state. But be with her to support when required. This will give her a feeling she has not done something irrepairable.

Secondly, don't prevent her from driving just because of a small incident (please mind: its an incident. Not an accident at all). Let her continue driving in the same car on the same route multiple times. This will give her confidence if she is able to drive the car on same road multiple times without any events, that she was not responsible for the event but some one else.

Thirdly, don't ever remind her about the incident again in her life till she becomes an expert driver. Later she herself will remind this incident and laugh at it.

Finally, DONOT advice her that "Accidents are common. It can happen to anyone, etc". Tell her it was just an event and not an accident at all and forget it once and for all.
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Old 16th September 2021, 14:53   #4
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Default re: Regaining confidence to drive, after an accident

Thank god that your family is safe!

It is best not to put pressure on your daughter. I'm in a similar situation. My daughter and son both have got their licenses but simply refuse to drive given the state of traffic in our country.

After a lot of cajoling and coaxing and not getting any results, I'm adopting the following strategy:

1. Take them on a few road trips and let them enjoy these road trips. Recently took my daughter on a 1000 KMs trip to Tirupur. She enjoyed the trip.
2. Trying to get them enrolled in TBHP! This will help in learning about safe driving and other good things about driving.
3. The key is providing all the relevant information and allowing your daughter to choose on her own.
4. You should be very patient and empathetic. She is young. Six months is nothing.

Hope this helps.
Regards,
lsjey
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Old 16th September 2021, 15:04   #5
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Default re: Regaining confidence to drive, after an accident

Sorry to hear about the accident, but some things are beyond control.

I will suggest to give her a different car to drive for sometime, if possible. The same car will remind her of the horrific day and other things which followed. When I was around her age and met with an accident, I was also reluctant to drive, however, my father motivated me and gave me a different car to drive. To my surprise, it really helped, as it marked a new beginning. I am sure other members will have more and possibly better suggestions to offer.
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Old 16th September 2021, 15:29   #6
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Default re: Regaining confidence to drive, after an accident

As mentioned by other members, please do not pressurize her in any way or manner to drive, unless there is an absolute need to do so. I have seen it first hand how bad it is when you pressurize someone, and would absolutely recommend against it.

Secondly, and with all due respect to the suggestions of other members, I would only suggest that you talk to her and understand what is going on in her mind. That would make it easier for her to understand.

The last and final point would be to convince her to start taking the driving seat again, but only if she is convinced herself, and is confident.

I say the above with experience as my wife has started driving again after a gap of almost 3 years, though not due to an accident. Her first drive was at a desolate stretch of road in Hyderabad to get a feel of the car.
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Old 16th September 2021, 15:51   #7
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Default re: Regaining confidence to drive, after an accident

Quote:
Originally Posted by docsr View Post
she was quite spooked by the way the police handled the driver of the mini-van. As children were also involved in the fracas, she was even more disturbed.
This might be the reason, and the assumption that if she causes an accident, then she might also get treated the same way.

Just tell her you will be sitting next to her while driving anyway and not let situation escalate. Also, show the related documents like her driver's license and car's insurance. In case something happened, things are covered and there's no need to panic.

Also, short drives around the block (or an empty stretch) would reduce the fear a bit and might help increasing the confidence.

---

Even though you practice defensive driving, you cannot stop the other vehicle from causing an accident and damaging your car. Heck, you don't even have to be in the car, we have seen idiots causing accidents in parking lots too. It is always nice to have an SOP in case of an accident.
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Old 16th September 2021, 16:07   #8
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Default re: Regaining confidence to drive, after an accident

It doesn't matter if it takes her a year or a two, but she should only be driving when she starts to feel comfortable, peaceful and confident. 'What could have been' might be the question that's still haunting her, let her process it on her own. Meanwhile, just be there with her, and let her know that its ok to take time with few things.
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Old 16th September 2021, 16:13   #9
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Default re: Regaining confidence to drive, after an accident

Quote:
Originally Posted by docsr View Post
[i]

The mini truck was being driven by a 10 year old, with his inebriated driver-father in the passenger seat. Photographs taken, police arrived and confirmed the situation of minor driver with drunk co-passenger etc. That story is for another time perhaps.
Did I read it right? 10 years old? - Hope the cops took some strict action against the driver - father.
Glad all of you are safe and did not suffer because of someone else's fault

On to the topic, accidents can happen even if you drive or travel in any public transport. We have no control on situations, only thing we can control is how well we react and how we can improve our skills further not to worsen the situation. Still we cant stop things happening.

Its like when we are running or walking and some accident happen, are you going to stop running / walking all together.
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Old 16th September 2021, 16:51   #10
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Default re: Regaining confidence to drive, after an accident

I’m no doctor or expert but since it’s already been six months since the incident, I would suggest taking your daughter to a therapist to process this traumatic incident. I’m saying this from a place of utmost kindness. She’s unable to break the pattern of self-blame and probably still is traumatised by the sight of the irresponsible drunk parent and the minor being mistreated at the hands of the police.

BLR has lots of good therapists who can help. If you want a recommendation please feel free to DM.
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Old 16th September 2021, 17:12   #11
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Default re: Regaining confidence to drive, after an accident

After a bus crashed into my wife's car at low speeds, she has completely stopped driving. She now thinks only about the worst case scenarios:

- This accident resulted in a bill of Rs. 15k (total damage 40k). What if the next accident brings in a bigger bill?
- The bus driver was loud/rude and she was alone in the car. But passersby came to her rescue. What if she runs into rowdy/criminal drivers and there is nobody around to help?
- What if I run over a pedestrian by mistake? What will happen if there a police case?

and so on.
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Old 16th September 2021, 17:21   #12
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Default re: Regaining confidence to drive, after an accident

Teenagers are known to be wired to take on a lot more risk and recover sooner than adults can. Do you have the dashcam video of this incident ? Play it to her along with a few similar ones. Run her through the many travelogues in TBhp.

Let her realise what she's missing out for no fault of hers.

I ran over a dog at 60+ speeds at a turning in a ghat section last week. She was bruised but survived. Stopped the car, gave her a few biscuits and then moved on. I absolutely love dogs and was switched off for an hour or so, but, then realised this can happen again at the very next turning and me losing confidence can mean harm to family as well.
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Old 16th September 2021, 18:11   #13
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Default re: Regaining confidence to drive, after an accident

I think what you need to give her is Time.

This happened with me after my first major 2-wheeler accident on a death-on-wheel machine we call as Scooters which have extremely low stability. (P.S. I have been riding for 15 plus years before the fall). I still drive it even for long distances like 30-40 kms, but I just dont trust the vehicle in any tricky situation (like a wet surface).

One way to give her more confidence is to get a car better on safety aspects. I would supremely confident on a new age bike (with ABS, traction control, better grippier tyres, etc).
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Old 16th September 2021, 19:36   #14
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Default re: Regaining confidence to drive, after an accident

Quote:
Originally Posted by docsr View Post

My daughter turned 18 a couple of years ago. She was keen to learn driving and did so. She obtained her driver’s license and was slowly gaining confidence. She was comfortable driving my Kona Electric around the city. However, she was still not allowed independent trips and one of us parents would always ride shotgun. Then the COVID inspired lock-down came into force. This, along with the weekend curfews, resulted in a situation that she could not drive for over a year.

So how can I help her regain her confidence?
Maybe she is also afraid that a lot of monetary damage was also involved. (And also has this in back of the mind)

Maybe explain to her also about the insurance situation and how it is meant to cover such scenarios.

When I was younger, was always scared to take out my Uncle’s vehicle from a tight parking spot having always the thought what if I damage it. (I had no grasp of all the insurance topic, i just knew how to drive)

I would recommend take her to empty ground runs and start to build up confidence again.Couple of weeks of that then local city run abouts can be attempted. Tell her that accidents are inevitable ( sometimes out of our hands) it could be a minor scratch to more serious but we shouldnt be afraid.
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Old 16th September 2021, 21:07   #15
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Default re: Regaining confidence to drive, after an accident

Sorry to hear about the accident and glad you guys are safe.

Quote:
Originally Posted by docsr View Post
1. Daughter was driving correctly and safely.
2. She had the reflexes and the presence of mind to stop the car in a straight line. She resisted the instinct to turn away to the right, which would have resulted in us running into the tall concrete road divider-with a greater chance of injury.
3. She was not at any fault. I cannot think of anything she could have done differently to avoid this collision.
She handled it very maturely and you mentioned that she was keen to get her license, signs of a good driver.

Quote:
Originally Posted by docsr View Post
4. However, she feels tremendously guilty for having “caused” the accident, and the resultant very expensive repairs (all of which was covered by insurance). More so, she was quite spooked by the way the police handled the driver of the mini-van. As children were also involved in the fracas, she was even more disturbed.
5. She refuses to drive any more, despite this entire episode being almost 6 months behind us.
You have to tell her that and make her understand that its an accident. By definition it happens without giving any notice, all we can do is learn our lessons and move on.
In this case however she didn't cause it, just a bad experience to have but move on.
Its similar to getting rear ended while driving or if she was as lucky as me while stationary at a signal. I won't stop driving because of it neither should she.

How police handle people might not be how we want but that's their way of doing things which comes out of ground realities which too aren't to our liking. So neither interfere not accept interference.
On the contrary I have met some exceptionally good policemen in Bangalore who not only solved my problem but also ensured that some minors didn't get unnecessarily harassed(will spare the details).

Also tell her that cars these days (especially the Kona) are expensive to repair, hence the zero dep/return to invoice insurance.
Show her how much the spares cost on different cars at Boodmo. They won't have spares for Kona but browse around for other cars. Also show this (My MG Gloster gets rear-ended | Repair quote of 6.5 lakhs!)by bark1234.
These days cosmetics cost more than mechanicals. If your car isn't a write-off then it has more cosmetic damage but if its a write-off and you're looking at a bill then it means it was as safe as you needed it to be

I understand its not easy to drive after an accident even when it wasn't her fault but going by how people drive on our roads isn't it safer to drive yourself than risk being driven by someone not as careful as you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by docsr View Post
- I think strongly, that driving safely is a life skill, that like riding a bike or swimming, all of us should be comfortable with.
- So how can I help her regain her confidence?
- Absolutely Agree.
- Take any of the accidents which happened recently and ask her that would they have happened if she was behind the wheel ?
If she was driving the truck would she have overtook another car like that ?
Also note that the impact of that accident has impacted 4 people, if she was driving she would've saved 4 people from a bad experience. That's why good drivers are needed on our roads.

Some info on active and passive safety systems would help, so would some travelogues.

Hope it helps.

Last edited by shancz : 16th September 2021 at 21:10. Reason: ftl
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