Have you ever caused a car accident? Millions of people have. And millions more live with a profound sense of guilt about it. Having guilt or anxiety after causing a car accident is very common. If you are living with “I caused a car accident” guilt, here’s what you can do to resolve it. You can overcome your driving anxiety and drive with confidence and a sense of control once again.
People often feel guilty if they’re at fault in an accident. Even though they know intellectually it’s just an accident and they didn’t mean to cause it. They still feel guilty. Guilt is especially an issue for those with low self-esteem. Lack of healthy self-esteem is common for those with anxiety or depression. Your low self-esteem issues may breed unwarranted guilt. This means you may feel guilty for things that aren’t actually your fault.
Reasons for Accident Guilt
You caused an accident where someone was hurt or killed
This is obviously a terrible tragedy . Even though car accident deaths have steadily declined in the US since 1921, there were still 38,800 traffic fatalities in 2019. It’s normal to feel guilt if you caused death or injury, even if it’s completely by accident.
You caused property damage
Property damage includes damage to your car, the other car(s), and damage to the surrounding area. This is why it’s so important to always carry adequate auto insurance.
You caused an accident and don’t have insurance
Causing an accident without car insurance may result in serious consequences. They include fines, expensive lawsuits, even jail time. It depends on what state you live in. But generally, if you’re in an accident without insurance, you should buy car insurance immediately. Even if you’re not at fault.
You feel like a failure for causing a car accident
As I mentioned above, low self-esteem makes people feel overly guilty for anything they do wrong. Maybe someone else is also angry at you for the accident. This can your spouse, your parents, your kids, or your boss. The best thing you can do in this instance is stop blaming yourself.
You totaled your only means of transportation
It can be really tough when your wrecked car is your only means of getting around. But guilt never solves anything. All it can do is paralyze you. The remedy for guilt is action. You may have to ask family members to give you rides for awhile while you save up for a new car. Or you might have to use public transportation for the time being.
You have medical bills you can’t afford to pay
It’s awful to have a huge medical expense you can’t afford, either for yourself, a passenger, or the other driver. Auto insurance typically covers medical expenses in a crash. Then your health insurance kicks in. The other driver’s insurance may also cover some of your medical bills.
You believe the accident is proof you’re a bad driver
Many people believe they’re bad drivers, even though it’s not necessarily true. But if you’ve caused accidents before, brushing up on your driving skills might be a great idea.
Solutions for “I Caused a Car Accident” Guilt
Is it really your fault?
A good place to start is to determine if the accident really is your fault. The legal definition of fault is likely different from your feelings. Different US states have opposing methods of assigning responsibility. Some don’t determine fault at all – aka “no fault states.” It’s pretty confusing! Here’s a good summation of how fault is (legally) determined after a car accident.
Release your guilt through hypnosis
Car accidents can cause all sorts of feelings for the people involved. And although it makes sense to feel guilt if you caused the accident, carrying around a huge load of guilt doesn’t help anyone. That includes the other driver too. Guided hypnosis is a great way to let go of that heavy burden of guilt you’re carrying.
Work it out with a therapist
Maybe you need professional help to deal with the traumatic aftermath of an accident. There’s absolutely no shame in it; people use therapy to work through all kinds of different issues. What’s important is that you get the help you need.
Get better insurance
Insurance is important for protecting yourself in case of an accident. Even if the accident is your fault. Good insurance makes sure both you and the other people involved get taken care of properly.
Become a better driver
The way I dealt with causing an accident one time was vowing to become better at driving. Driving is a physical skill that anyone can get better at with proper training Being a good driver is the best preventative step you can take to avoid causing an accident.
Reduce your debt / repair your credit
One of the hardest things about car accidents is that they can be expensive. Car repairs, medical bills, and lost wages can add up to a lot of debt and wreck your credit rating. Out of control debt due to accidents is a huge burden to lug around. Getting a handle on debt can take a huge load off your soul.
We all feel guilty about something(s). And it’s easy to feel guilt about causing a car accident, even if you had no intention of doing so. But the best solution to guilt is action. Use the solutions above to overcome “I caused a car accident” guilt. There’s no use carrying around that burden. And your guilt’s not helping anyone. Especially you.