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Every Father's nightmare...

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by drummerfc, Sep 4, 2012.

    drummerfc guest

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    Say what you will about today's cars and the "nanny-isms" they are filled with. After last week, I'm a thankful Dad for some of those systems!! :(

    Setting the stage: It's a warm, typical summer night in late-August (this past Tuesday the 28th). My daughter, who has had her NJ drivers' license for all of 4 months, wants to take a ride with a friend to visit another friend. Her car, a 2005 Dodge Neon, is low on gas and of course, she has no money. So, being the understanding dad, I say "just take your mother's car", a 2009 Lexus RX350. She meets-up with me and my mother for a nice dinner, then she leaves to meet said friends. I head home. All the while I have this not-so-good feeling in the pit of my gut, as if "maybe I should have given her 20 bucks for gas".

    Sure enough, every Dad's nightmare begins, as the phone rings at 10 PM with a hysterical daughter on the other end of the line, screaming that she had just had an accident with mom's ride (the Lexus) :eek:. Naturally my first question is "are you hurt, is anyone hurt?" Thankfully NO ONE was injured...but it was a pretty nasty wreck, as the below pics will bear out. Also, thankfully the car is equipped with air-bags (which deployed), crumple-zones that make the car look like a crushed soda can but keep the occupants un-scratched, and etc.

    All of the typical emotions begin to swim through your body like a school of harried fish through stormy waters. I wanted to hug the bejeesus out of her and yet ground her for 3 years - all at the same time!! I wanted to scream at her so she would never forget and yet envelop her in love and sympathy so she would always remember - all at the same time!! I wanted to try to explain to her how precarious life is and how quickly things can happen and yet let her process the entire event herself - all at the same time!! I did know she would beat herself up over it...would it be a lesson-learned, would I join in on the beating, would I explain as calmly as humanly possible how to learn from the situation?

    At the end of the day, I did a combination of all of the above. It was lots of love combined with a little anger and consternation, sprinkled in with a dash of lecturing and teaching, with a touch of explaination as to how things happen in the "real world" and the best thing to do was learn from her mistakes so it lessens the chance of it happening again. And when you think about it, isn't that about the best we can do as parents?? Support them, teach them, instruct them, let them know honestly how things can happen and that all decisions have consequences?

    Most important lesson from this is how easy it is to replace a car...but there will only be one of her and she could never be replaced. That's MY lesson from this.

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    CRKrieger

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    Did SHE do this, or did somebody else contribute to the carnage? I agree that a car is replaceable and kids aren't. I've been around racing so long, and I've mildly crashed enough cars, that my approach is different. I want my daughter (who gets her temp permit this week) to understand that it's better to crash the car some than to do something stupid to avoid it and get yourself killed. So if you absolutely can't stop for traffic ahead, it's still smarter to hit it going slower (BRAKES! ABS!) than to veer left into oncoming traffic.* My bottom line here is, if SHE did this on her own, then you've got some talking-grounding (and maybe training - has she been through Street Survival?) to do. Otherwise, it's "This stuff happens. We'll get over it. Never crash harder to avoid one like this because walking away is always better than getting carried away."

    * Which is precisely how I crashed my last car - with half-failed brakes in the rain.
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    mrsbee

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    *cough - insert street survival plug here - cough *

    I remember my first serious crash, I was very happy when my dad showed up on the scene. Daddys just have a make everything better vibe to them. Although, I was happy when my car was declared totaled - - I HATED that car.

    One thing I did learn, as a very young pup, maybe the age of 8 or 9, driving with my grandparents in the northwoods of wisconsin "Deer over Ditch".The impact of your car vs. a deer will ALWAYS be less than having your car topple end over end over an embankment into a cold stream - and potentially bears.

    drummerfc guest

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    I arrived in the aftermath and really can't say for sure...however, according to her the other driver either stopped or slowed down considerably. Of course that's no excuse, you should be ready for anything, but that's her account. She wanted to exit the highway onto a right-side side-street and according to her, forgot she wanted to do that - but then realized at the last minute that she needed to get over. From the looks of the wreck I believe she was moving too fast to make that move, given her experience-level. Another teaching moment; my rhetorical question to her was "what would the harm have been if you were to have just continue down the highway, and turn around at the next jughandle/stop light?".

    Amen! I've had my share of accidents (they're quite hard to avoid when you've been driving for 37 years).
    She's been through a lot because of this; she was so upset and apologetic about it all, so I waffle a little on any punishment for now.
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    MGarrison

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    Very glad to hear your daughter's ok, Frank! Now, the question is - onto another disposable SUV, or a good excuse to opt for a nice used X3 or X5....

    drummerfc guest

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    Thanks man...I'm glad to know too, believe me! I said a whole heap o' prayers that night thanking my maker for keeping my girl safe and sound.

    Depends on if the thing's totalled or not. Still up in the air as to that. If not they fix it....if so, I have been checking out pre-owned X5s and X3s, as well as used '09/'10 Lexus RX350s (what can I say, my wife digs her ride)...
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    Satch SoSoCalifortified

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    Wow! I am SO glad she's okay! A 34562ing NEON?! Are you CRAZY? And then a #$%^@ LEXUS?!

    There is only one car I want to be in when Bad Things Happen. It's made in Bavaria by fanatics.

    1. Car-control clinic
    2. BMW CCA driving school.

    Or just let her, you know, drive with one hand while she's texting her BFF...

    [Forgive me: This story has me so upset I think I'm being rude here. Go back to Line One.]

    drummerfc guest

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    I know, I know, sheesh, cut me a break already!!! :p I can't help it that my wife doesn't share my love of all things Bimmer! Trust me on this - if totalled, like I wrote back to MGarrison above - it very well may be X3 or X5 time.

    Yeah, my teenage daughter drives a Neon. Sorry but we all can't live like you Satch, driving your Roadster around Tax-ifornica and then writing about it....LOLLL!! :D

    drummerfc guest

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    I can only hope so...I did what I could to try and make things better for her as possible, under the circumstances. I tend to be a "doom-and-gloomer" when these things happen, but in this instance I tried to keep my cool and explain to her that sometimes life works like this and she has to learn from it, while comforting her at the same time. She was more upset that she wrecked her Mom's car!

    I recall my dad not being so warm-and-fuzzy in the least when I had my first crash...I guess there's a difference in dealing with a boy vs. a girl in these situations (plus it was my fault!).
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    mrsbee

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    Yeah, I used to be a daddy's girl, but after he made the comment to me "where are you going to put your tools" after seeing my new ride, we've kind of been on the outs. There is a lot to be said as well about a girls first car, I say quit knocking the neon! If anything I learned more about how a car works and an appreciation of maintenance from my first car. I think girls should have something at least a little unrealiable/uncool to start off with. The neon is a utilitarian machine, and hardly one that would be "cool" to cruise the strip in.

    I had a cavalier as a first car, I pimped that thing out with an all leopard print interior, six disk changer AND an awesome bumper sticker that said "pork tornado". If anything that car was an absolute dog, but it taught me individuality, and that cars can have character, just as much as their drivers do. Needless to say it got crashed once by a jealous boyfriend plowing unto the back of me at a stop light AND a tourist (not on the same day)

    My dad came to the rescue after that tourist incident, at 8am on a Saturday morning. The tourist had ran a stop sign going about 45 and hit my drivers side quarter panel. I spun around twice... And the first thing that went through my mind was, "damn, I'm going to be late for work!".

    My dad's response "you should have played hookie today"

    Sage advice dad.

    drummerfc guest

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    An update to the story...

    The insurance company sent me an email today stating that the original estimate was too low, there was more damage to the car than initially thought, so they upped their ante...but still didn't declare it a total loss even though we're getting closer :confused:. I'm not really sure how I feel about this right now - call me "on the fence".

    I would appreciate opinions on the following concerns (from anyone who might have an idea or would like to weigh in):

    - Should I be concerned about the value of the car post-collision repair, with what amounts to a brand new front end (hood and quarter-panels, new bumpers/lights/trim/etc., new radiator and mounts, and various other items under the hood and behind the scenes), new seat belts, new dash components (since the airbags burst the dash wide open), and more things too numerous to mention? If all of these things (or most of them) are brand new/OEM parts, and there's little to no bondo or body shaping done, does that matter?

    - Should I be concerned about the ride quality or experiencing future issues with the car going forward, with the amount and magnitude of the repairs this thing needs? The prevailing myth is that a car needing major body work is never the same afterwards - anyone have any anecdotes to share on this, one way or the other?

    I am in the process of trying to lobby the insurance company to just total the thing...we're not that far off (book value vs. current repair estimates), and they are paying for a rental while the repairs take place, so I figure it's worth a try. Can't hurt to ask, and who knows - maybe I can come on here in a few weeks with pics of a newly-acquired, pre-owned X3 or X5! :cool:
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    MGarrison

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    If you have a quality shop with experienced personnel doing quality work with quality parts, you probably stand a pretty good chance of humpty-dumpty getting put back together again reasonably well. I wouldn't be surprised at the appearance or rising of miscellaneous squeaks and rattles here and there going forward, seems to me there's the likelihood of enough wiggle-room for something to be off a gnat's-whisker-width here and there and become an issue. I don't have much experience with majorly repaired cars, however.

    My concern with repaired vehicles are the structural issues - cars are designed to fold up in certain ways. AFAIK, there's no crash testing or standards that repaired cars are put under, government crash-worthiness tests are all based on new vehicles. So, once some piece of structural steel has been bent, (stretched), and re-bent, pushed, or stretched more-or-less back into place, what will it do in a serious crash now? Will it fold up as originally designed, offering identical protection as a identical-but-uncrashed vehicle? Or, is there some lessening of occupant protection? If so, does it represent any danger or hazard, or is there nothing to be concerned about? There's no way to know, even if the car is in another accident. Any body shop is likely to be reassuring about the quality of their work, but there's no way they know any better than anyone else how a repaired vehicle will do in a crash.

    So, the reality of cash flow kicks in, what can you afford to do and what do you want to do? Options are to repair the vehicle and drive it, perhaps total it and put the moola towards something else, or sell/trade-in the repaired vehicle. Me, if I could swing it, I'd opt for something majorly un-crashed, if possible, even if (horrors! :p) it means another Lexus SUV to keep the s.o. happy. I don't have any comparison of the Lexus vs the X5/X3's personally, although there's probably something in Roundel history. I recall there were a variety of ride-quality complaints about the first gen X3's, possibly the X5's too? Point being, you might be able to get your wife to try one on for size and test drive it, but she might find for whatever reason(s) she prefers the Lexus. Around here, of course, we encourage every member to fill as much available garage and driveway space with as many blau-mit-weiss-emblazoned vehicles as possible, just 'coz.... but, there is also the realization that pragmatism must supercede a bimmer-driven path to bankruptcy.

    As for being concerned about the value after repairs if it's not totalled - I'd say nope, 'coz whatcha gonna be able to do about that, except to do your best to make sure it's repaired properly. It's post-value repair will be whatever it is, and, sure, with a major repair in the carfax history, that'll be a value ding, but there's nothing you can do about that - so there's no point in worrying about it.

    Good luck with all this, however it goes!

    drummerfc guest

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    Thanks M...

    Stupid question for you...what's AFAIK mean? When I first saw that my thought was "wait a second, my insurance company's mascot is a little green guy with a British accent, not a duck"! :p

    FWIW (Now there I go with the acronyms!), I don't have any control over the total/non-total, repair vs. replace scenario. I'm at the mercy of the insurance company and claims adjuster. Still waiting to hear from them - I'll be playing defense attorney when I finally do.

    I asked the better-half last night the somewhat-rhetorical question - "If this thing is totalled, would you want to look at a BMW SUV, or is your heart set on another Lexus?". She filled my heart with hope of possible joy by saying "I'll check the BMW out". So there's a chance, a possibility, of seeing more Roundels in my driveway! :D
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    MGarrison

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    That's one of the more common acronyms - you can typically google them up with any variety of results, but afaik is short for 'as far as I know' ;)
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    Satch SoSoCalifortified

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    I'm still concerned about the Neon. Need a cheap(ish), sturdy, safe first car? Easy-peasy: BMW E30. And if you get one with the M20 six, you can have father-daughter bonding time changing the timing belt every 50,000 miles.
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    eblue540 Fourth Gen Bimmers

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    Frank:

    First, glad everyone is OK (been head down in work mode the last 2 weeks).

    Perfect father-daughter bonding experience: Road trip to the BMW Performance center to take the 2-day teen school with Mike Renner's crew. Did it with each kid. Cost about $1000 plus hotel. Did it with each of my kids - and it made a difference in how my daughter handled "her deer" when it ran out in front of her.

    Kind of my soapbox issue, but it is a really worthwhile experience.

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