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Small Bad Decisions Can Lead to Costly Mistakes (AKA: The Day I Ran Into My Husband’s Car)

Small bad decisions can lead to costly mistakes

Y’all. Something you might not know about me is that I can be quite brainless.

I lose things in obvious places. I forget where I’m going. I call people and can’t remember why I called them. I’m terrible at directions and navigation. And I often walk into a room and can’t remember why I am there or what I was supposed to be getting or doing in that room.

For some reason, I can handle big details and complicated projects involving dozens of moving parts, but I can be a hopeless cause when it comes to very simple things.

This morning was a perfect case-in-point. I was supposed to meet a friend at the coffee shop at 8 a.m. I was excited that I had gotten up and around early and was actually going to be on time.

I dashed to the car, pushed the button to raise the garage door, quickly started the car, backed out, and then heard a big crunch behind me…

Oh me, oh my! I had hit something while backing up and I knew instinctively what it was — Jesse’s car.

Yikes!!! So much for my good morning and actually getting out the door on time!

Even though I was scared to, I knew I had to get out of the car and go look at the damage that had been done.

I slowly made my way to the back of the car and breathed a huge sigh of relief: it wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d expected. There were a few scratches and dings on his car, but it was mostly my car that had taken the brunt of the impact.

Even then, it wasn’t all that bad: mostly just a large 4-inch crack in the plastic bumper — something that wasn’t too obvious if you weren’t looking for it.

But it was still damage and it was completely the result of my brainless haste and I knew I had to go break the news to Jesse.

I came in the house and, trying to sound as calm and un-alarmed as possible, I hollered up the stairs, “Honey, I’m so, so sorry! I just ran into your car!”

Lest he picture massive damage, I quickly reassured him, “But I promise it’s not as bad as it sounds. Trust me. It could have been a lot worse.”

I was trying to find the perfect balance between expressing remorse and not creating undue panic.

He wasn’t thrilled with this start to the morning, but he was gracious in his response and came down to survey the damage.

I apologized profusely and told him I should have looked in my rear view mirror. It was my haste to get out the door that had caused the accident and my lack of remembering obvious things — like looking behind yourself when you back out of the garage.

The most embarrassing part? This is only the second “accident” I’ve caused and the other one also happened in our driveway. Yep, I told you I was brainless!

When I came home from meeting my friend, Jesse told me, “You know what? I did some calculating and realized that a few simple bad decisions resulted in potentially hundreds of dollars’ worth of damage.”

I gulped at that and immediately started beating myself up for being in such a hurry. But he wasn’t done talking yet.

He went on, “It wasn’t all your fault this morning.”

“But yes it was!” I protested.

“No,” he replied, “You see, the kids were irresponsible last night and left a scooter out in the driveway where I usually park my car. I saw the scooter and, instead of having the kids pick it up, I just parked on the wrong side — right behind you in the driveway.”

“So, we’re actually all to blame.” He went on. “The kids know they are supposed to put all of their outside toys up at night. They didn’t. And I was careless in parking the car right behind you instead of moving the scooter and parking where I usually park.”

A careless move on our childrens’ part plus careless moves on both of our parts all added up to costly damage to our cars. We had a good talk about personal responsibility as a family and we all committed to do a better job to not be careless or hasty in the future.

The good news? The cars are still completely drivable and the damage won’t hurt them in any way, except to potentially lower their trade-in value.

Learn from our mistakes today. Be thorough. Be careful. And don’t be in too much of a hurry. Seemingly small bad decisions can add up to costly mistakes.

photo credit

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55 Comments

  • Jennifer says:

    Had one of those myself this week. Forgot to renew our Triple A membership for $75 and my husband’s car broke down and had to be towed, on our dime since the membership had lapsed, for $120 🙁
    Live and learn…

  • Paulina says:

    Ha! I did that exact thing the other day. Thankfully my husband’s car was about to be sold to a junk yard (old beater) and neither car got a single scratch but I still fell awful! I’m known to be careless sometimes. What a simple yet irrefutable concept!

  • Kimberly says:

    Thank you for your honesty and sharing this life moment! It really touches my heart to see how your family reacted to this accident! It gives me hope that some day my own family (including me!) will be able to react in a similar way!!

  • Ashley says:

    Thank you so much for your honesty in posting this! I have those kinds of brainless moments, too, and am relieved that I am not alone. Again, thank you so much for your honesty

  • Emily says:

    “Seemingly small bad decisions can add up to costly mistakes”…and can lead to many lessons learned!

    I love that instead of just blaming you for backing into your car, your husband saw how his decision and your children’s decisions all played a role in the situation.

  • Jen says:

    I have done that, twice! I hit two cars on separate days pulling out of the garage. I knew people were over, and I knew the cars were in the driveway but it’s like brushing your teeth or making a cup of coffee, I pull out the same way every single time so I wasn’t expecting something to be in my path!

  • Kristi says:

    I made this same mistake less than two years ago. Unfortunately, there was quite a bit of damage to my vehicle. Even more damage to my ego. My husband was also very gracious about the situation. And so was the nice man at the auto body repair shop that told me that spouses backing into each other is actually common. You aren’t alone! 🙂

  • Jolanthe says:

    Did the SAME thing many years ago. Now we have a 2 car garage – not that it wouldn’t happen again some days. (grins)

  • luisa says:

    My husband ran into my car cause I parked it differently and he did not see it…he damaged the whole door! Love your blog btw.

  • we had a thing like that happen the other night- We have a family of six and we needed to drive four blocks I was busy on the computer so didn’t come out to move the car from behind the van and when I got outside my husband was backing out with all the kids in our other car. (meaning that my little guy wasn’t in a car seat he was sitting on his sister’s lap) we were only going four blocks (and this was the FIRST time we had ever done this) what can happen right? Well one block down the road a person didn’t have their dog on a leash which there is a leash law and the dog ran in front of our car, we self reported to the police that our kids weren’t seated right that cost us $150 in a ticket, hopefully the dog owners have to cover our car damages which was 802 dollars… right now we are waiting to hear back from their insurance. tiny things that cost both sides a lot of money

  • Sounds like you husband is amazingly understanding and level headed. Things like this happen, but it is how we react that says the most!

    Im glad the damage wasn’t too bad – nothing is worse than having to pay for those random mistakes that we all make.

  • Jessica says:

    Whenever my husband needs to park in the driveway he parks waaay over to the side because he knows I’ll forget and hit his car!! I think the only reason I’ve been spared this mistake is because of him!!

  • JG says:

    Crystal, If your husband isn’t a guy that really knows cars please have your bumper checked out even though the damage seems small. It may have flexed back into position but left your car and especially its valuable cargo (i.e. you and your family) more vulnerable in a more severe accident. Modern bumpers protect us with that flexibility but yours may have sustained non-visible interior damage that requires its replacement. I had a bumper that had to be replaced a couple times after I was rear ended in accidents that didn’t seem bad at all but the pieces that held the bumper to the car had been cracked. I hope that isn’t the case for you but better safe than sorry.

    • R Kessler says:

      I was thinking the same thing, for safety sake have your bumper checked out. I’m glad you “voiced” it. I have had to have my rear bumper replaced 2 times. Luckily it wasn’t my fault and someone else covered the cost.

  • Jenna says:

    I was inches from doing this on a car that was brand new, as in we had purchased it the day before. I didn’t quite hit the new car, but took awhile for my heart rate to return to normal. :-/

  • Gil says:

    That’s really a very impressive way in which the two of you handled that kind of accident. No “bad guy” – just everyone taking responsibility for the part they played in the accident.

  • Laura says:

    If there were any car seat in the cars at that time they may need replaced if the cars have any visible damage. Car seat manufacturer’s do not guarantee that the car seat can protect a child through another accident even if the first accident was minor. Call the car seat manufacturers and tell them what happened and they can tell you if they would consider this an “accident” in which the seats need replaced. http://thecarseatlady.com/aftercrash/

  • Kristi says:

    Oh my goodness, I did the same thing! I was in a hurry to get to my daughter’s soccer game and backed right into my husband’s (Jesse too, by the way!) truck. The worst part was that he was in the car with me. Of course, his truck was going to be there. Talk about brainless! I think God was teaching me not to be in such a hurry all the time. Thanks for sharing your story!

  • Candi says:

    I did the exact same thing this week! I am often forgetful and rush through tings. But I generally like to survey the damage before telling hubby…Unfortunately he was right outside with me when this happened. He was the first to survey and was so gracious. I saw a split second of frustration, then he kind of smiled and took it as part of being married to me. lol

    Thanks for sharing!

  • I have to say, this made me laugh! For no other reason except that I felt like you were just narrating my life! LOL:)
    I’ve learned there’s a very fine line for me between confidence, and OVER-confident!
    When I get too comfortable and start feeling like “I got this, and nothing can catch me off guard right now”…that’s when I do things like hit the NEW house with the Uhaul…yup, that happened!
    I feel your pain, luckily your hubby isn’t the type to pin the blame 😉

  • Lisa says:

    What a nice husband. Thank you for posting something that doesn’t say men are jerks. 🙂

  • My husband is bad about not putting things up, parking in odd places, or forgetting to mail important things, like my book manuscript or the life insurance policy renewal!

    So, I created a piece of art in my kitchen that reads, “You’ll better your life in all you, with just a little Follow Through!”

  • Jen says:

    I have to agree with the many comments that your husband had a great perspective on the situation. You are lucky! I can’t help but think of the fact that there are many women whose husbands would likely have an opposite reaction and probably have the blame placed on them, be belittled because of the situation, etc. Praying for those in such situations.

  • julie says:

    A few years ago I was in a big hurry to be home and forgetting that we hadn’t taken the car topper from vacation a few weeks earlier was still on my car, i barreled right in the garage. I broke the cross post on our car but thankfully got one from our local auto scrap yard not too expensive. My husband was also very gracious!

  • Tamara says:

    This is a thought provoking post. You make good points regarding small decisions and the eventual consequences that come from them (bad or good) and I am glad your HH did not berate you. I do notice though, that there is no mention of the fact that NO ONE should be backing their vehicle up without looking. Who knows who or what could be standing outside your closed garage – people, animals, bicycles, cars. If it was a person, THAT would be a tragedy. So glad everything turned out well!

    • Katherine says:

      Exactly what I thought reading this! Thank you for saying so.

    • Heather says:

      Yes, I thought that too. Always make sure kids are accounted for, and if small, that the adult left behind is watching to make sure one doesn’t run out of the house and behind the car.

  • It’s so nice when you can talk these things through without getting mad.

    A while back, I was in a hurry and the car was at the wrong angle. Yep, I ran into the garage door frame and ripped a piece off. The bumper was scratched too. I used finishing nails to nail the trim back up and it’s still like that to this day;0)

  • Gretchen says:

    I have done the EXACT same thing with about the same amount of damage. It happens! 🙂

  • You’re so much nicer than I am. I would have been yelling “why were you parked there!!!” I have got to work on being sweeter.

  • kirsten says:

    This exact thing happened to me–twice!! My husband usually parks beside me in the garage, but the kids had left their stuff strewn about, and he couldn’t fit, so he parked in the driveway just in front of the garage. I looked behind to back up, and saw nothing–his car was in my blind spot. As I backed and turned towards our basketball hoop, the front driver bumper swiped right down the side of his car. Ack!! A couple months later, I did the same thing!! I could not believe it. Fortunately, my husband was also gracious. My insurance covered entirely the cost to repair both cars, with no copay because of first accident forgiveness. So, we lucked out this time. But, it is a good reminder that everyone’s actions affect others, and we need to be more aware and responsible. It is nice to know I am not the only one who has had a moment like this 🙂

  • AMY says:

    I CAN TOTALLY RELATE. IVE BACKED UP INTO 3 DIFFERENT CARS IN MY DRIVEWAY. BUT EACH OF MINE DID WAY MORE DAMAGE. EVERYBODY NOW KNOWS NOT TO PARK BEHIND MY CAR!!!!! GLAD IM NOT THE ONLY ONE.

  • Leslie says:

    Dear Crystal, I appreciate your transparency. We all make mistakes, but please don’t call yourself brainless! I cringed every time you used that word, because I do the same thing. It’s hard to get rid of negative self-talk, but I had a wake up call when I heard one of my kiddos say, “I’m so dumb.” And the truth is, we’re not dumb, or brainless, we’re just human. And forgiven. 🙂

  • Jennifer says:

    Oh my! This made me LOL so much because I did the exact same thing a few years back. Reading your account, I could hear that same crunching noise in my head all over again. I laughed so hard I cried, but in that moment I was crying and it was most certainly not because I was laughing! The worst part is that my dad worked at the car dealership where we had to take it to get fixed, which means that not only did I have to confess the crazy thing I did to my husband, I had to fess up to my dad, too. Talk about a double whammy! Whoopsie 😉

  • anne says:

    Well, misery LOVES company! I have done the SAME thing! In fact, it infuriated me because I was NOT late. Oh, I’m glad to hear someone else has done the same thing!

  • Becky says:

    Well, at least it was a car and not a human (your kids, neighbor’s kids, newspaper guy, etc)

  • Genny says:

    Those new back up and right lane cameras are the best things ever. I drove an older car until last year and got into a six car wreck due to black ice. We had to get a new car (with cash of course 🙂 and my husband talked me into one with those features. Awesome! We live in a cul de sac with lots of kids and you never know what could be there…kids, bikes, etc. maybe a new car is in order!

  • Joy says:

    Well if it makes you feel better, several years ago I hit our side garage on our old house not once, but twice while pulling in. I tore away the sides of the frame of the garage. The first one I blame on pregnancy brain fog. 😉 I also have taking off my husband’s side mirror backing out of our garage. Not to mention the couple of cars at store parking lots I have accidentally bumped. Yes, I reported them to insurance. And, no, my husband was not very gracious about it, especially the mirror one. To this day, he doesn’t allow me to back out of garage if his car is in the driveway no matter how far it is moved over. He does it for me even though it was 5 years ago. LOL

  • MelissaJ says:

    Can totally relate to the going into a room and not remembering why bit – my mom and grandma had a word for that – “Tumpty” – you can pronounce it like it rhymes with “Humpty Dumpty” or if you have Scandinavian heritage you can pronounce it with the brogue – “Toompty”. It basically means scatter-brained or air head!

  • Renee says:

    I did that once, also. If it makes you feel any better, there wasn’t even a garage involved! It was a carport in our military housing. I backed straight out, instead of back and around my husband’s car. All it did was bump his car several feet back into the street…of course, while my neighbor’s were watching!

  • Wonderful post. I’m mostly hard on myself for being careless in small things. But as you said, silly, bad habits can cause huge mistakes.

  • Marie says:

    Oh Crystal, you are not alone. Just months ago I did the exact same thing and did damage to both our cars. Luckily nothing major but still. My husband was very gracious about it but I felt sick to my stomach!! I love the perspective you all had. In my case, I had been complaining about not wanting to take his car to church and insisted on taking the other vehicle. Well, that decision cost me because his car was not in it’s usual spot and I hit it!! The lessons life throws us sometimes.

  • Debbie says:

    Crystal,
    My husband once ripped the driver’s side door right off the hinges of my car by having the car door open and backing up without realizing he was heading straight for the pole that holds the carport up. I just shook my head and walked away.
    Great post with a great lesson!

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