Saturday, February 22, 2014

Not Again!

view from the back
I've only been in a car accident before once. It also involved the car that I'm using now but back then, my husband was driving and I was seated at the back with my son. I posted about it here. However, in the accident that I got into today, I was by my lonesome.

I finished class at around noon so from St. Scho, I drove to South Supermarket at Alabang to have lunch before going home. I was able to park in front of Teriyaki Boy but I did not get down first as I was checking messages on my phone. Next thing I knew, there was a loud crunching sound and lo and behold, the white Toyota van on my left was turning right which was against the traffic flow. I was surprised as he should not have been able to hit me as vehicles exiting the parking lot should only turn left.

I could only sit there and stare at disbelief at what happened. I initially thought that my vehicle moved to must have hit the van like that but my handbrake was firmly engaged. I turned off the engine and gingerly stepped out of the car. The owner of the car who was apparently waiting for the driver quickly approached me and apologized profusely. I actually admire her as if that was any other person, she would've been cursing the driver to high heavens but she held her tongue and spoke with me calmly and with the right dash of humility. They readily admitted that they were at fault and all the witnesses and security guards said that I was innocent of any wrongdoing.

view from the front
I quickly called my husband and asked what I should do. He initially gave me instructions but after a few minutes, he changed his mind and said he'll just go to where I was. Fortunately, the supermarket is just 10 minutes away from the house.

The guards wanted the driver to move the van as he was blocking the traffic going inside the supermarket parking lot. The bystanders in Teriyaki Boy quickly signaled that I should take pictures and I nodded saying that I already have.

Security then said that they have already contacted the local police precinct and somebody is on the way to take pictures and do our police report. True enough, a man on a motorcycle came over in less than 15 minutes. He took pictures and interviewed us as well as the supermarket security. He told us that we have to go the traffic enforcement office as we have to give our statements. Good thing that it was just under the Alabang viaduct as I do not relish facing the traffic going to Muntinlupa proper.

When we got to the office, I saw some cars that were obviously from an accident in the lot--there was even a Benz and an Audi! I wondered why the owners were not claiming them. Probably the repair costs are astronomical so they just left it there. Anyway, we went inside the office where I sat down to write my statement. I'm ashamed to admit that I struggled with it as the whole form was in Filipino. Filipino is supposedly by first language but I was suddenly at a loss on how to convey what happened. In the end, I wrote something like this: "Naka-park lang ako sa parking ng South Supermarket nang lumabas ang puting van sa kaliwa ko ng pakanan." (I was parked at the parking lot of South Supermarket when the van on my left moved out going towards the right). Not very eloquent but at least it's straight to the point.

the damage
The officer on duty asked me to step outside so he can see the damage. He also asked me what I wanted to happen. I was surprised as I thought I was there for the police report only. Apparently, I have the option to press charges as I was the aggrieved party and they were obviously at fault. I conveyed that all I wanted was the police report so I can go  home and most importantly, have lunch!

I then paid P250 for the police report (supposedly for pictures and filing but I somehow find this unbelievable, especially when I saw the receipt. I did not complain anymore as I just wanted to get out of there) and was out of the precinct in 20 minutes or so.

After the precinct, my husband and I proceeded to Honda Cars Alabang which was where I have my car regularly serviced. We asked for an estimate on the cost for repairs as it's one of the documents required for insurance claim. In less than 30 minutes, I was able to get my quote and was able to go home.

The bright side of things, the whole thing, from time of the accident until I got home only took 2 1/2 hours. Not bad considering I was able to file my police report and get an estimate already. However, it's not something that I would want to happen to me for a long time.

So for those who will find themselves unfortunate to be in a car accident, remember to do the following things:

1. Take pictures of the accident -  All angles as much as possible.
2. Keep calm and keep your cool - Getting in a shouting match with the other party will not resolve anything. However, I know this might not always be possible if both of you think you are in the right of way. But try to be calm. Usually, the other driver calms down as well so you can talk like two rational beings so you can get it settled right away.
3. Get a police report - It is usually the most important document for insurance claims. Unfortunately, you have to go to the nearest precinct to have this done.
4. Call-a-friend - If you are driving my your lonesome, try to call for someone to accompany you especially when going to the precinct.
5. Exchange numbers - Get the phone number of the other party. Make sure it works and he or she is not just giving you a bogus number.

If you are fortunate enough to be accident free, try to be prepared for it by doing the following:

1. Get a dashboard cam - I initially thought that it's just a vanity thing but when you drive by yourself and when you get into accidents, it's your most important witness.
2. Update your insurance - Do not ever let your insurance lapse. Having an expired policy seems to attract accidents.
3. Defensive driving works - I consider myself as a safe driver. I don't feel my pride getting hurt if an asshole-driver cuts into my lane. I usually think that he must badly need to use the bathroom as he's in such a hurry. Nevertheless, it does not make him less of an asshole.
4. Keep a copy of the insurance and OR/CR in the car- You'll never know when you'll need it.
5. Keep a phone charger in the car- No doubt your glove compartment will be full of stuff but there's no harm in adding a phone charger or at least keep your phone charged. You will need it to call for help.

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