Working from home, as I do at least one day a week, often means I’m first in my house to grab those countless Amazon deliveries via UPS. One such Thursday, a really hot September day, I was breaking for lunch when the doorbell rang. My first thought, based on the amount of barking coming from my dog Luna, was that there was a delivery. Maybe it would be the book I ordered, just in time to enjoy with my sandwich!
I opened the door, and, indeed, there stood a sweaty, upset UPS driver, but he had no delivery. Instead he asked, “Is that your car?”
All I could see was the neighbor’s car parked across the street, so I said no.
“I meant this one,” he replied. He stepped aside to reveal my newly acquired, cute-as-a-button Toyota Echo. Up on the curb. Smashed. Crunched.
Okay, so it could be worse. No one was hurt, and I ended up doing fairly well with the insurance settlement. But the irony that my car would be destroyed when I was working from home and not on campus was not lost on me. When parked on campus, I have come to expect that our automobiles will acquire bumps and bruises—whether we park in the faculty parking lot or among hundreds of young drivers. Between my husband’s campus and my own, and with my two daughters parking in their high school lots, our family cars have been hit, scraped, and crunched.
With the fall semester upon us, many of us will be parking on campus again, where we’ll be mingling with 18-year-old drivers and distracted parents on move-in day, among others. It is wise to review the basic guidelines in case you hit a parked car or have your car hit (as I did, courtesy of UPS), and this overview is quite helpful. Thinking no one will notice the damage you’ve done? Think again. If you hit another car, you are required by law to either stay or leave a note, and as Insurance.com reminds us, there are an “estimated 30 million surveillance cameras in the U.S.” Fleeing a parking mishap could potentially lead to great expenses or even jail time. If you return to your car and find damage, it is worth calling the campus police to have a record of the incident. This will help with filing a claim or finding the culprit.
Fender benders are another likelihood toward the beginning of the school year, and can be a scary experience for young college students, who may not know what to do. If you’re involved in a collision with another driver, this blog from College Magazine has some tips on how to deal with the situation. I especially stress the following to my own children: file a report and get all contact information. I still have the pictures of my destroyed Echo—it is important to document all you can, even if you feel like you caused the accident.
With today’s distracted drivers (the UPS driver told me he was checking his phone and did not see my parked car), there will no doubt be more crunching of cars, whether you’re parked on campus or your own street. Regardless of where you park, may this fall semester bring a crunch-free, safe place.