On a beautiful Friday afternoon, driving home on a local road, I was in a three-car accident. A driver took a left hand turn in front of the car ahead of me. Those two cars collided and spun out of control in front of me. I didn’t have enough time or distance to stop before hitting one of the cars. Before I could get out of my car, a groundskeeper who witnessed the accident called 911, and I could hear the sirens. Firemen, EMS, and local police officers arrived within minutes. Everyone walked away from the accident, thankfully. Here’s what I learned from the experience:
- We don’t control everything. There’s so much going on around us, and we can no longer assume everyone is paying attention. Even when we’ve planned, we’ve orchestrated, we’re focused – something happens. We don’t know what will happen, just that something will. Stay focused, especially when driving.
- We do control our reactions. Something will happen; it’s a question of how we respond to it. No whining, complaining, pointing fingers, assigning blame – just focus on achieving the best possible outcome. In this case, that meant attending to everyone’s wellbeing, getting the road cleared, moving traffic, getting cars repaired, and resuming life as usual.
- We have great infrastructure. 9-1-1 dispatchers, first responders, emergency vehicles, medical professionals, police and police reports, and insurance companies who assume blame when it’s their drivers’ fault, all take care of getting us what we need.
- We need no-selling zones. No sooner did I get out of my car than the tow truck driver called by the police tried to sell me his car repair service. I understand why he did it; it’s his timing that I object to. In retrospect, he could have called to follow up, asked how I was doing, let me know the car had arrived, and then asked if I would be interested in hearing about his service.
- We have much to be grateful for. There are so many people right around us and in the world to be thankful for: Eyewitnesses and bystanders who called the police and comforted us with their presence, concern, and care. First responders who are capable, caring and prepared. Police officers who did everything from record our accounts of the accident to get the traffic moving again. The car manufacturers – every single person who worked on the design, parts, building, and maintenance of our cars. The people at the insurance company who knew what to do and jumped into action to make my life that day and going forward as easy as possible. The tow truck driver who drove me home. The list is endless, and I thank you all.