Wednesday, December 5, 2007

My First Car Accident

First let me assure you that nobody was hurt during the event, now here is the whole story of my first car accident. :)

A bit of background on the car situation. Remember Q has a nice shiny Lexus? Well, I wasn't comfortable driving it since I was still a very new driver and AD traffic is crazy and dangerous (this in itself should be a tourist's attraction). As a workaround, we got a Ford Focus rental car recently just for me to practice and get more comfortable. Very important to know: we made sure the rental had zero deductible.

So last Tuesday night, when I came back home with the Ford Focus, I tried to find a parking spot. Here is the bit with parking here - it is always a headache since underground parking is scarce and with all the surrounding apartment buildings, it can be a problem to find a spot. It's very evident in the photo below: parking lot block is further divided in the middle with a line of parked cars, narrow streets are further narrowed with parked cars, people often blocking others, etc etc.

Anyhow, so I was trying to find a parking spot, and I went into the left lane of a parking lot - realizing then I was against traffic, but I thought to myself, "what the heck, it's 1 am, there shouldn't be any cars around, I should be down at the end of the parking lot in no time." And I was wrong. Just as I was reaching to the end of the parking lot, a SUV pulled up, and nope, it didn't wait for me to exit either, it just barged in and forced me into reversing all the way out of the parking lot. I have to admit I got a little impatient, and half way out of the parking lot, I reversed right into a parked car's rear end. I can't tell you how stupid and upset I felt at that moment.

Still very shaken, I managed to park my car and inspected the damage. Well, the first thing I noticed was that the parked car was another nice shiny Lexus! :-O There were some paint scratches at the corner of the bumper, but the victim car was still in good shape. Similar story with mine, except my bumper came out a little on the side. Well, here in UAE regardless of the scale of an accident, even if it's just a small scratch against a wall, a police report is required before any mechanic could work on the car. So I got over the shame and made myself call the police (999). It turned out by the end of the night I made a total of 4 emergency phone calls!

The first call is to report the accident and location. The second call is to tell them that they drove past me and had to come back. (Recall in AD there is no street address, so spotting someone in a sea of car pools is pretty tricky especially at night. I was waving my arm like a mad woman - oh dear, what a scene!) I was very lucky that at least one of the two police officers spoke decent English, but I was told that my car's registration sticker had expired (the darn sticker was in Arabic numerals, ack!), and I had to go to the police station with them, right away! After talking to the rental company and the police again, it seemed that I had no other choice, so I decided to follow the police car to the station. But before I managed to pull my car out, the police car took off so fast that you'd think they were practicing their Die Hard moves. So lost and confused, I made the third call to the police hotline, asking for direction. That turned out to be a disaster since they couldn't tell me where the police station was other than that's on MuroorYonge street in Toronto - going for miles. In the end, I was told to go home and sleep, and call in the second day morning. Fine. After I reparked my car, as I walked away, I noticed that my driver's license was missing! Of course the police officers took it! So I had to call the emergency number a fourth and last time. At 3 am, I was finally back at home, unscratched, but without my driver's license nor police report, and then I realized I had no idea what the police officers' names were. Yah, I was definitely having a blond moment. (FYI, Q was on night shift when all this happened.)

The second day turned out much better. Q talked the rental company into sending a car to take me to the police station and help sort out all the paper work. Later that day I went to the rental car and swapped for a Mazda 6, which I drove off with the hand brake on and only realized after Q helped troubleshoot over the phone. *Sigh.* I figured the more mistakes I make, the more I learn, right?!

So all in all, nobody was hurt, I didn't have to pay for any of the damages, I have a police report as souvenir even though I can't read it since it's all in Arabic (see photo below), and there were a lot of lessons learned.

Other than the car accident, there are a few other things as well, like my first job offer (but I declined nicely), Q's trip to Kuwait, our first couchsurfing guest, and in three days, Wads (Q's mom) visiting AD! So, more to come, stay tuned... :)


Anonymous said...

Its a lot of words saying what we men already know ;) hihi.

Seriously, good to hear ts only the car that has damage, thats less important and easy fixed !



Unknown said...

Can only fully concur Doffie.

Very perceptive though to use a rental to start getting the hang of AD behind the steering wheel.

Glad to hear you're OK Shu (but boy must you feel stupid :-) )

Cheers, Peter