Looking forward to our new European motorhome!
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Lushoto, Tanzania.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Tanga City on March 1st.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

This car accident story takes up a whole blog post!

This is part two of yesterday's events. If you missed part one, you should read it first...

https://www.travelwithkevinandruth.com/2020/12/hiking-eye-doctor-and-fairly-major-car.html

So we're driving home from the eye doctor's appointment at around 6:30pm. It's dark out by this time, and I don't enjoy driving at night to begin with. And we had a bunch of tests done to our eyes, and they maybe haven't totally recovered. But, they are probably 95%. However, none of that had anything to do with the accident.

It was totally my fault. A momentary distraction that should not have happened.

We are driving along a busy three lane road... three lanes in each direction, and we are in the center lane of our three lanes.

It's pretty busy, and traffic is slow. I'd guess we are maybe doing a steady 40 km/h (25 mph).

There's a car broken down on the far right side with it's hood up and a couple of guys working on it. Both Ruth and I looked over at it. I can't recall exactly what it was we were looking at, or why.

During the one or two seconds that we had looked to the right, the traffic in front of us had come to a total stop. We both looked to the front again, and while I hit the binders, we both screamed "Holy Crap"! Or words to that effect.

Of course it only took a split second, but I remember thinking that the brakes didn't work as well as I thought they should have. I remember feeling the the anti lock brake system kicking in, and thinking that the car would have stopped better without it! I remember the old days where you could lock up all four wheels, and I have to think I would rather have had that happen! It also went through my mind that the car is a rental with high miles and has probably never had any service work done to the brakes. I am not using that as an excuse... I take full responsibility.

Anyhow, we ran into the guy in front of us. And he ran into the guy in front of him. And so on, and so on. Four vehicles damaged.

So, we put on the four way flashers ad I got out. Everybody seemed to be okay, and one guy... I think he was from another vehicle that wasn't involved... spoke English. Nobody else spoke any English.

Our car.

I was in the collision repair business in Canada for 25 years. Now... I'm admittedly out of touch, but I'm thinking maybe $2,500 damage. I'm actually surprised there's not more damage. Of course, I have no idea what costs here in Turkey are, but I'm guessing much lower.

The guy I ran into.

And I'm looking at his car thinking, okay maybe $4,000 damage. The rear unibody frame absorbed most of the impact the way it was supposed to, but there is a fair bit of damage. 

In the next ten minutes, a lot happened. But because everything was in Turkish, and the English speaking guy had disappeared, all I could do was stand there looking dumb. Everybody was really helpful though, and nobody was upset, including the guy I ran into. It turns out his car was a rental car as well! We both looked at the damage and just shrugged our shoulders!

About 10 minutes later the traffic police arrived.

They moved all four vehicles safely off to the side of the road. Our car would not start and run correctly. We pushed it off to the side. Sounded to me like an electrical problem.

Again, nobody spoke English. And I had no idea what the proper procedures are. So I just kind of stood back and let things happen. I had no other choice!

I was surprised that the police didn't hang around very long, and they also didn't make any kind of report.

Everybody else involved, including the two vehicles in the front that had very minor damage spent a lot of time on their phones. I also used my phone to contact the guy who was the middle man in our car rental deal to explain the situation.

Another vehicle arrived and two guys got out. No markings of any kind, but they were there to perform alcohol breathalyzer tests. Everybody involved had to provide a breath sample, and as the samples were being done, each result was showed to the other drivers. Everybody involved tested a zero.

Next up, they all gathered around the trunk of the car I had run into. That was their desk for sharing paperwork. I was asked for my passport, drivers licence, and car papers, which I had everything ready and available. 

And then we waited. I bet we stood around for an hour, and I'm not sure what exactly we were waiting for. I guess I could have asked via Google translate, but I really didn't think it was my place to look like I was pushing things!

My guy got back to me and said that there was a tow truck coming for our vehicle and I was to pay 120 lira ($20 CAD, $15 USD) for the tow truck. Holy cow, it would have been $120 or much more back in Canada where many tow truck drivers are crooks and there is no regulation.

I still had not received my passport, drivers licence, and paperwork and was getting a little concerned about that.

The tow truck showed up, and loaded our car on the back.

Our car getting loaded on the tow truck.

Now, I have no idea where the tow truck is going with our car. 

We are instructed to get in another car with the guy who had arrived and seemed to be in charge of getting everybody's information. I assumed he was some kind of insurance adjuster, but found out later he was with the car rental company who owned the car I had run into.

So we got in with him. Nice guy, but we couldn't understand a word each other said. I typed into Google translate and asked about my passport, and he replied "Don't worry".

I thought we were going to a local collision repair shop, or maybe a towing compound, but we arrived at a small car rental shop. The vehicle I had run into had been still driveable, and it was already sitting there.

I think it's funny how they apparently don't have a Turkish word for "Rent a Car"!

The tow truck with our car hadn't arrived yet, which I though was kind of odd since they had left before us. But, it showed up after 15 minutes or so. They unloaded the car and parked it beside the building. Then handed us the keys and my paperwork, and the vehicle paperwork. Then, we were instructed to get in with the tow truck driver, and he would take us back to our apartment.

It was 9:30pm by the time we got home!

Now... I knew that our rental agreement said that I was responsible for the first 5,000 lira ($850 CAD, $650 USD) of anything that happened to the car. And given that I knew that, I'm okay with it.

Later that evening, I heard from my contact. He said that the owner of the car rental company would drive from Fethiye (200 kms, 125 miles) and bring us a new car if I agreed to give him the 5,000 lira in cash.

Now this, I know... would never happen in Canada or the U.S.! And, we could keep the new car at no extra cost until the end of our agreement on January 10th. Back home, they would have been hitting us up for loss of use, and another payment for the new car.

But, we know that things are done differently in different countries. I remember once in Romania when we rented a car and we met the guy in a parking lot where I handed him a wad of cash, and he handed me the keys. When I returned the car, he returned the wad of cash! People in Canada and the U.S. tend to think that their way of doing things is the best. But their way is not the only way!

Anyhow, that was the end of our interesting day. Of course we are not happy that the accident happened, and that it cost us a chunk of money. But it was an interesting adventure, none the less.

Stay tuned for tomorrow... the replacement car rental arrives, and another visit to the eye doctor!

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And in Canada...



18 comments:

  1. Thankful that you are both ok and everyone else involved. Cars are replaceable people are not. Possibly the stomach bug may have affected you more than you realised. You said in your earlier post that Ruth was out in front, which is very unusual. Hope today has been a much better day. Love to you both xx

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    1. So are we, it hurt Kevin's pride a little and our wallet a little more but everything is just fine and life goes on.

      Oh, we definitely think Kevin was still wearing off the effects of the stomach bug he had the day before. He was actually in front of me most of the time, it was only towards the end when we really had to start climbing the really steep part that his energy level dropped. On the way down, he was ahead of me again!

      Yes, yesterday was a much better day, thanks! :-)

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  2. Oh wow! Just the thing we all hope doesn't happen, but it does. Exactly the same thing happened to us in San Francisco years ago. I ran onto a stopped car and knocked him into another. Very little damage to our rental but the old Mazda pickup I hit was not derivable and the big, new BMW I pushed him into only had a scratched bumper except that (being an American) he was on the phone to his lawyer and telling the police he needed an ambulance. Luckily we had bought rental insurance from ICBC in Canada before we left which covered us for anything and after giving the police report, I heard nothing further. I hope everything works out well for you and it looks like it will. Good luck with your eyes. If there are follow-up checks to be made you will probably to get them in your next destination.

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    1. Yep, you gotta figured that eventually the odds will catch up with you and in this case they finally did. Luckily everyone is just fine and the cars can get fixed, plus our wallet is now a little lighter. Life goes on and we will get over it. :-)

      Glad that your accident wasn't too bad either.

      That is the issue that the doctor has with the follow up check ups, he doesn't think that we would get what is needed in Tanzania, probably not the best location for finding a good qualified eye surgeon. This is why he would like us to delay our departure date by another week or two.

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  3. I am very happy you and everyone else is ok, that being said, the whole situation makes me chuckle a little in how different it is handled and how you guys just go with the flow!

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    1. We are very happy that everyone was OK too!

      Yep, things are done very differently here and when there is a language barrier to deal with on top of that it just makes things a little more complicated. Thankfully everyone was really good and very helpful and we kept our calm and as you said just went with the flow and hoped things would work out in the end, which of course they did. :-)

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  4. So you got all the paperwork on the new car what happened to your passport

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    1. We got everything back at the rental car place where the damaged car was dropped off.

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  5. Accidents happen, glad no one was injured! That's tough to be in a foreign country, and only a few people speak English. I would suggest letting it go!
    You'll brush this of get back to new adventures! Take care, Rawn Stone

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    1. We are glad no one was hurt as well. We have already let it go, it is all behind us now and yes, we have many new adventures ahead to look forward too. :-)

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  6. Glad to hear you’re both OK.

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    1. Thank you, we are too and we are also happy that no one was injured.

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  7. I’m just catching up and re-reading your previous posts. Sorry to hear of the accident, but glad you and Ruth weren’t hurt. Wow. Sounds like things turned pretty well. You guys are good examples of how to calmly work through challenging times. You do it so well. Now on to the eye surgery accounts...

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    1. Thank you Randy, we are happy the accident is behind us now and it actually seems like ages ago. We are thankful that nobody was hurt and that everything seemed to sort itself out. Yep, keeping calm and being patient are virtues at times like that. :-)

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  8. Whew! SO glad neither of you were hurt and that the financial hit wasn't worse. Probably better to have an accident there than in Canada or the US!

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    1. Same here, thankfully it was just the cars that got "injured"! They can be fixed easily enough, and yeah a little extra cash out of our pocket.

      We think it would have been more costly to us if it had happened back home for sure!

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