Going through a minor car accident is a pretty traumatic experience, especially for first-timers—the first thought that goes through your mind is “shit”, and you’ll then hope that you’ve not made that move or that turn.
So, what’s the first thing a first-timer (or even an experienced one!) does when they come out of the car to check the damage?
They’ll look at the car and the other driver’s car, and the first sentence is this: “I’m sorry.”
It doesn’t even matter whose fault it is: first-timer will be so nervous and scared that they’ll apologise first before remembering what to do next. If you do so, you’ll pay dearly for your mistake: not for your driving, but because of what you say.
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You see, the moment you apologise, you’re acknowledging that you’re in the wrong. In a car accident, whoever is wrong be liable for the repair cost. Even if you think you’re not in the wrong, that first apology would have made you guilty, and subconsciously you yourself would think that you’re in the wrong during the discussion.
Unless you’ve been through an accident, you’ll know that given the split-second decision before the accident, you won’t have confirmed whose fault it is until you can sit down and think through it clearly, or replay the entire scene in your mind again.
There’s a friend of mine in which someone just swerved into his lane and hit the side of his car. It’s obvious that it’s the other party’s fault—in fact, even without evidence or a third-party witness, it’s still a 50-50 case (both parties bear the fault).
But the moment he was out of the car, he apologised to the other driver who didn’t say anything initially. Eventually, he did a private settlement and paid for both his and the other party’s damage.
So next time, remember this the moment you got into an accident: remain silent if possible (after finding out if anyone is injured), take pictures and slowly think through the entire scene.
Never, ever let your nervousness make you apologise for a mistake you’ve never committed.
And please, for goodness’ sake, before anything, ask if everyone is okay. I need to highlight this again because seeing videos of how people react the moment they got into accidents in Facebook could really make one lose faith in humanity.
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