First accidents

  Jessica got her license yesterday.  You have to be 18 in NYC to get a license to drive.  Hey, its a tough town. 

I made Jessica go through the driver's ed class, one on one driving etc.  For one, your insurance rates go down and I believe it is best to hone your skills with someone besides your parents. 

This morning, Jessica wanted to pick up her friend on her 18th bday and drive her to school.  She lives on the Upper West Side and we are in the West Village.  Of course we had to say yes.  I remember getting my license and figuring I was an expert day one too.

This morning Fred comes upstairs and says to me, I am a little worried about Driving Miss Daisy's outing today.  I was too but there is no time like the present. 

Something in my gut told me that I was going to get the call this morning saying that she had an accident.  I took my brother and sister out for ice cream on my first night of getting my license, in the pouring rain and took out a mailbox.  My brother, I believe on this first outing, hit some snow and side swiped a car, my sister did something too.  Alas, it was bound to happen.

The good news is nobody was hurt.  The bad news, she did quite a nice job.  Took out a headlight, smashed a bit of the hood and the side.  The other car was a delivery truck and she smashed their door.  This is the picture of the truck…our car looks worse.  Very sweet. 

She was on 20th Street on the way back down from the UWS when it happened.  I didn't race out to save the day.  I talked to her a few times and let her deal.  The cop made her take a breathalyzer test, she had to deal with the insurance swap and phone numbers, the whole deal.  It sucked and it was stressful but that's life. 

She came out on the other end learning many lessons.  Now she needs to get back into the saddle and I have to get the car fixed. 

Comments (Archived):

  1. Yule Heibel

    I know your daughter’s accident isn’t funny (and what a good thing no one was hurt), but your post did make me giggle – nervously. Why? My son turns 18 in April and has never driven (although he could have started at 16). We figure it’s time he took classes this summer and learned, but, ya know, if he drives like he sailed the one time he tried, I can’t imagine what sort of scrapes (ha!) he’s going to get into. <sigh>

  2. daryn

    It happens to the best of us. Glad no one was hurt, and that dreaded first accident is now out of way!My first night driving, I ended up in an altercation with a jersey wall and two flat tires (after curfew, of course). Oh, and who can forget “passing” my first driving test, then immediately pulling into a parking spot and smacking in the the car in front of me…

    1. Gotham Gal

      That is classic.

  3. Banet

    I was lucky enough to learn in the suburbs — though only at the age of 16 — and to have 4 months of learner’s permit time to practice… so maybe I’m not one to judge… (then again I’ve been driving 22 years, several hundred thousand miles, and have never caused as much as a door ding.)Regardless… this is really scary. The very first time she went out driving she hit a (parked?) vehicle (a bright red one at that) badly enough to do that kind of damage? Couldn’t that just as easily have been a cyclist? Or a pedestrian? Or couldn’t the driver have been standing right where that door was, unloading something, and have been crushed?From what I’ve read here you two are truly excellent parents — beyond anything I can ever hope to be — but for her to be driving on Manhattan streets while so inexperienced sounds like it could have killed a person as easily as it wrecked a car door.Peterhttp://www.FlashlightWorthy…Recommending books so good, they’ll keep you up past your bedtime. ;)P.S. Maybe a weekend or two out at the beach where the roads are emptier is in order?

    1. Gotham Gal

      The state of NY gave her a license. Driving is all about practice,practice, practice. The good news is that nobody was hurt. The good newsis she probably will be more aware in the future.

      1. Banet

        I 100% agree but maybe that practice could be obtained:1) where the roads are less crowded/dangerous — after all, learning in Manhattan is like learning to swim in the middle of a typhoon, and2) with a pair of more experienced eyes in the car? I expect you or your husband could have warned her in time to avoid the accident?Regardless, I’m glad everyone is ok and best of all, that you had her deal with the situation on her own. That’s the an excellent lesson in and of itself.

        1. fredwilson

          we’ve driven with her hundreds of times, in manhattan and in the country where we have a home we go to on the weekends.but the first time anyone gets in a car all by themselves, it’s a different story.i agree that it’s scary. you think you are scared reading this post, think about how joanne and I felt yesterday morning.but you have to let your kids go at some point and all the training in the world is never enough when they go out on their own.they will make mistakes and thankfully this was a small one

          1. Banet

            Ah! These are details missing from the original story that make me feel a lot safer on the streets of the city.Sorry your daughter went through this, but as I said before, sounds like she handled it extremely well and at least it’s out of the way.

  4. jackson

    Let the good times roll…….

  5. ellen

    Too bad. Driving in New York City seems to be much more difficult than the burbs but that is where Jessica lives. Between the cab drivers and the illegally double parked cars, I had to be on my toes too the last time I was driving in the city. And I have the best experience in the world. I live in Boston where no one uses turn signals or has any patience or any courtesy. It is every man or woman for himself on the roads. What really amazes me is how the garages in N.Y. really pack each car in. I will never get over that.. Next time I too will bring bumper guards and foam door guards.I know Jess must really feel just awful about it.

    1. Gotham Gal

      She does feel awful but as I explained, most people are scared driving around NYC.You are so right when you say it is everyone out for themselves. Its a dog eat dog world on the streets of NY.joanne [email protected]

  6. suesol


  7. aarondelcohen

    This is so brilliant. My first night. It rained massively and at the bottom of the hill I saw everybody merging into the left lane leaving the right lane open. I went straight into a flash flood of a stream. Water started pouring into the car. when my books started floating in the back seat I realized I had to get out . Of course when I opened the door the whole car filled up to my chest and I had to kind of swim out of the car.I ran to a nearby police station went up to the desk to tell them what happened. They laughed at me. I had five accidents before I was 18. So you should feel good.Aaron

    1. Gotham Gal

      Woah. That is quite a story. Hope your accidents have ceased…

  8. Jonathan

    When I proposed to our daughter that she should take the NY learners permit test, her response was “why would I want to do that? You could kill someone with a car”. Only a City kid would be reluctant to start driving! Although she was skeptical, she took the written test. Her first Driver’s Ed class was yesterday, she goes behind the wheel (for the first time) on Thursday. We have lots of friends who grew up in NYC and never got a drivers license until much later in life — and many are pretty mediocre drivers. Driving is one of those 10,000 hours skills and the sooner you start the better. An accident first time out on your own has to hurt, but it looks like everyone handled it as well as could be expected. At least you saw the lesson in it (probably once you were well past the panic). I hope I am as understanding….

    1. Gotham Gal

      I’d be thrilled if the kids just came back to NYC and never got behind awheel. There are so many people in NYC who don’t drive. It is absolutelyone of those thing that the more you drive, the better you get…but sadlynot for all!

      1. Banet

        Oh no! Everyone should know how to drive — even if you live in NYC there are so many times on the weekend or on vacation when you’ll need to drive — or find yourself stuck in the hands of others.I have a 20 year old cousin who grew up in Manhattan and doesn’t know how to drive. Whenever they go to the beach for the weekend she has to be shuttled around like a 14-year-old or be trapped at the house.

  9. jerry solomon

    Total rite of passage. I feel bad for her. I feel even worse that she may have had the unfortunate predisposition to have inherited her father’s driving prowess. Thankfully she has many other outstanding qualities she got from Fred.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Ha. I only hope that none of our kids have inherited Fred’s driving skills.

  10. New West Living

    That sucks! I am glad that she’s okay though.On the second day of getting my driver’s license, I got into to two accidents – one minor and the other major. Almost totalled my parents’ car. My parents didn’t blame me or anything. They only asked whether I was hurt or not. That said, my dad rushed to my rescue; never properly learned the business of exchanging numbers, insurance informarion, etc. till years later.Good for you for letting her deal with the situation. Being a parent myself, I know, how much you would have wanted to jump in a cab to get there. You didn’t and you let her learn. It seems the right thing to do but it’s easier said than done. Be proud of yourself and remember this too shall pass.

  11. Doug Kersten

    Amazing thing is I was driving when I was 14…in Iowa…legally. Of course, I think I had my first accident around 18.

  12. termlife

    This post has reminded me of my early days, I was really keen to get a driving licensee at the age of 15 and failed to do so, got it finally after three years, that was one of the best days of my life!