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Why I Travel WITHOUT a Car

Updated: Apr 13


parked car

It may surprise you to learn that I, not only travel Canada, but also the world without a car!


I've never had my drivers license and honestly, have no plans to get it. I'd much rather live in a city that has great public transit options than learn to drive.


It wasn't always like this though. Things changed after the accident.


Let me tell you the story.

 

In Canada, you can start getting your license at 16. I never did though. I never felt the need to get my license and my parents didn't push me to get it either. Over the years, I assumed I would eventually get my license, but that changed when I got into a traumatizing car accident. It forever changed my opinion on vehicles.


4 way intersection

The accident happened one afternoon in a 4-way intersection, where only one direction had stop signs. The person, who was driving the car I was in, was distracted and didn't realize our side did have a stop sign. The oncoming vehicle to the right of us, however, did not have a stop sign.


This oncoming vehicle just so happened to be a massive pick up truck with a horse trailer attached to the hitch with a horse inside of it. There was also a family of 4 in the truck. The car I was in was a sedan and it was just the two of us.



In Canada, we drive on the right side of the road, but our driver seats are on the left side of the car. Since the truck was on the right side of us, and the person driving the car I was in didn't stop, my side of the car was t-boned by the truck.


car accident
This is the actual car

When we got hit, the car spun into a nearby ditch and landed diagonally. All the windows on my side shattered and the airbags deployed. The right side of the car's frame had bent upwards, which popped and shattering the sunroof. To get out of the car, I had to crawl out of the drivers side as there was no way to get out on my side.


Before crawling out though, I remember smelling what I thought was fire, which was terrifying. Thankfully, the car wasn't on fire. I, instead, learned that the explosives in airbags cause that smell.


I didn't realize it at the time, but this specific smell is the reason why I cannot go to shooting ranges. The smell of the gun power brings up some PTSD in me (learned that the hard way in Austin, Texas).


After the accident, if you only looked at the drivers side of the car, the car looked normal. Doors opened normally, windows were intact, and the airbags hadn't deployed. If you looked at my side of the car however, it was very clear that the car was no longer capable of being driven.


Pick up truck

The pick up truck had the tiniest dent in the front bumper and some glass shards on the hood from my window. No person or animal on their side was injured thankfully. I was not so lucky however.




I was in some serious shock, so I didn't react too much at the time. I was instead, hyper focused on making sure the person who was driving wasn't embarrassed by the accident, which I realize in hindsight sounds crazy. Because of this, I chose to stay and help with all the aftermath instead of going home like I should have.


ambulance

This is when things start to get a bit blurry for me. I remember calling my parents to tell them about the accident. I don't remember ever talking to the other people. I remember the police arriving to take statements, write a report, and issuing penalties such as failure to yield. I remember the tow truck showing up. I don't remember getting the rental car, but I do remember the hospital.


As the shock was wearing off, I realized my right upper arm was hurting, swollen, and very warm. At the time, I said I was fine, but the tow truck driver was very adamant that the person driving the car took me to the hospital once we got the rental car. Looking back, it was super sweet of this complete stranger to look out for me the way he did.


At the hospital, I remember the nurse taking one look at my arm, not even touching it, and knowing it was badly bruised. Since it was just a nasty bruise and no broken or fractured bones, there wasn't really anything they could do for me besides give me a pain killer if I wanted one.


longsleeve cartigan

Because of this accident, I spent my first ever month of teaching with a gigantic purple bruise on my right arm that went from my shoulder to my elbow. It was caused by the force of the impact of the accident and the airbags in my door. I remember wearing a lot of long sleeves to hide it from students.


It was painful, but I was lucky that it wasn't anything worse.


That said though, it was still such a traumatizing situation for me and has heavily coloured my choice to not travel by car. Because of this accident:


  • I opt to take buses and trains whenever possible as I feel safer in these bigger, public vehicles.

  • If I have to be in a car, I prefer to not be on highways. I'd rather take back roads or country roads where there is less traffic, even if it takes longer to get somewhere.

  • While in a car, I always flinch when other cars are merging into lanes, especially from the right side.

  • I only get in car with drivers I trust to be cautious of the signs, speed limits, and traffic around them.

  • I get nervous around distracted drivers or drivers who attempt to multi-task while driving.

  • When crossing the street as a pedestrian, I let cars go first instead of crossing.

  • and so much more...

Now knowing the story and how this experience has, and continues to, effect me, I think its understandable why I choose not to traveling by car as much as possible.


But I don't let this experience stop me from doing the things I love. I work with it and make the best out of the situation I have. It's cliche but "when there is a will, there is a way!"


 

Have you ever been in a car accident before? How did it effect you?


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