My first day of school started with a bang.
For the first time, I was rear-ended on the freeway. I was alone in the car and was on my way to my apartment before school started. In my rearview mirror I noticed the silver car speed behind me, accelerating too fast to slow for the traffic, getting too close to me, and I thought please don’t hit me. Brakelights. Then, WHAM!
My mind shut down for a moment. What just happened? Did I really just get hit? Yeah. What do I do now?
I saw the driver behind me switch lanes and edge toward the shoulder. Dazed, I tried to follow her, but as I tried to get over to the right lane, an impatient driver sped through that lane around me, causing me to swerve back to the left to stay in my lane. Soon enough, a bus in the right lane slowed for me so I could get over, and I did, pulling to the shoulder.
We got out of our cars slowly, nervous to approach one another. She immediately admitted fault saying it was all her. I said I was a little shaken up and had never been in an accident like this before. We exchanged all the necessary info, noted the damage to my bumper, and then returned to our respective cars and went on our business. I felt very wary behind the wheel afterward, and stayed in the right lane until I got back to my apartment to call my mom. She advised me to call the insurance company right away and report the claim, and even though I wasn’t eager to get on the phone with them, I did. No one answered though so I left a message and headed out to my first day of class this semester.
At school, I managed to talk to and introduce myself to one person next to me, one of the few females in the Criminal Justice class. I told her about my morning with the accident and she said that her friend got hit on her 21st birthday before. We talked about our majors and career ideas; she wants to be a police officer. I thought of asking her if she wanted to exchange contact info, but I was afraid of asking too soon so I didn’t. I don’t truly feel like I’ve made a friend in class until we’ve switched numbers and emails, and I usually do that right away, but there are times when I have a harder time asking. I’m planning to do that soon though. That was my only class for the day, so I headed home after that.
One of the main reasons I’ve always had some fears with driving is because I’ve feared getting in an accident. Well, that finally happened, but luckily this experience wasn’t too terrifying and I didn’t get hurt. What I’ve realized though, is that the number of phone calls you have to make afterward is one of the worst parts. I had to make and receive a lot of calls throughout the week and the week after with the insurance company and the estimate place. I found this to be very draining, and I got quite stressed some days from being on the phone so much all day, relaying what happened. But when I had to call people, I did it in front of one of my close friends, and I did it right away, which is something I’d learned to be helpful from my 2011 Phone Phobia experiment in my Shyness Project. I wouldn’t allow myself the time to think or worry about what I was doing, which made it easier to call even though I still dislike doing it. The people I talked to were very nice though and seemed genuinely concerned that I was ok after the accident. After I finished calling the insurance company for the last time at the end of the week, one of my close friends helped de-stress me by doing a silly thing with a cookie. She tried to inch the cookie down her forehead and into her mouth, which was quite amusing to watch, even more so when my other close friend tried doing it too. I laughed and felt more relaxed, grateful that the accident wasn’t fatal and my life hadn’t been changed for the worse that morning.