Who has a perfect driving record (never fault on your part)? How easy do you think it was?

So, as I mentioned in the Pit, I was involved in a fender bender tonight. Without going into how much fault I think I have (just in case of the exceedingly unlikely event the other guy’s insurance company somehow finds this), I feel bad that it happened, especially since my car is much older than his and got away with a lot less damage.

Friends say that accidents do happen, and people get lapses of attention or panic and this is human. I know this intellectually, but it’s still a bit difficult for me to process still in the “heat of the moment.”

So I was wondering what Dopers’ experiences were like. How many of y’all have never had any fault whatsoever in any car-related accident you’ve been involved in? How long have you been driving and how much do you usually drive?

I’ve been driving since 1976, and was in two early accidents, neither of which was my fault. In both cases, my car was hit in the side.

Or do you want to include the time when I was backing out of the driveway and hit the corner of my brick house?

::: raises hand :::

I’ve been driving more or less 40 years now.

How much I drive has varied a lot - from 100 miles a day to none, about 10-20 a day right now. For 15 of those years I lived in Chicago and did not own a car, and would go years without driving one, because I simply did not need one (when I did, I could rent one). This may have affected the odds of me being in a car accident - during those years I was in one bus accident and several train, none of which, of course, I was responsible for.

While I would like to think this is because I am a fantastic driver the truth is that there is an element of luck at work. Because, like everyone else, I sometimes make mistakes and that includes behind the wheel. Heck, there was an element of luck in the accident I have been in, when someone on a cell phone rear-ended my pickup at while I was sitting at a red light - she could have hit someone else, if I had left work just a bit earlier or later. I’ve had the good fortune that my own lapses have not resulted in damage, destruction, or carnage.

I started driving a car at about age 40, and have had several at-fault accidents. My dad, who started driving in traffic at about 12, never had an accident of either kind in the entire time I knew him. Of course, that leaves out all the time before I knew him. :slight_smile:

And it wasn’t because he was an cautious driver. He just had a very high awareness of his car and of other traffic, and never made sudden changes. If he missed a corner, it was gone, and he would carry on and turn at the next corner. If there was something he wanted to look at beside the road, he wouldn’t look: he would drive, and ask someone else to look.

I became aware of this as being different to the way I drive, when he explained why he would take the tow bar tongue off the car when he wasn’t using it: if someone else ran into the back of his car, they would be more badly damaged by the tongue. He didn’t just think about the damage he might do: he was aware that other people did things, and tried to avoid intersection. When he parked the car, he didn’t park it opposite a driveway, or where there was glass on the road.

He didn’t stop for green lights. He didn’t block intersections. He didn’t drive slower than traffic. He just managed to not get hit by other cars.

I’ve been driving since 1993. I’ve never been at fault in an accident, but have been in four total while driving. I’ve had two instances of being hit from behind while at a red light. Fortunately both times it was someone who had already stopped and decided to go even though the light was still red. Another was someone who decided they were going to go straight from the right turn only lane. The last was someone who changed lanes into me on the freeway. Fortunately I had already almost passed them and they only struck my right rear bumper. This happened in an area that has an exceptionally wide left shoulder, wide enough for about two cars, so I avoided hitting the barrier. There was another episode, as a passenger, when a rock flew out of a cement truck in front of the car I was in and almost broke through the windshield.

How have I managed it? Being extra cautious, and realizing that driving is the most dangerous thing I do on a daily basis. Even more dangerous than directly interacting with patients with COVID-19. If traffic is light, I make sure that I either slow down or speed up if someone decided that for whatever reason they. prefer to drive right next to me even if there is lots of room ahead of and behind them. If there is a pickup truck with stuff in the bed, I slow down gradually and let them get way ahead of me or I pass them. I pay attention to which way I’ll be turning to avoid unnecessary lane changes. If someone is tailgating me on a residential street I pull over and let them pass. I never pass on the right. In general I follow the rules of safe driving.

ETA: I find that with years of experience I’ve also developed a sense of reading the “body language” of what other drivers are planing on doing, even when they don’t use.their signals.

Stopping for green lights? I should hope not, unless there’s some other factor like an emergency vehicle passing or another accident already in progress at the intersection or something like that.

Been driving since 1976, 1 fender-bender – not my fault, no moving violations, 1 ticket for a headlight being out.

How do I do it? Fear of paying more insurance than I already do.

Does hitting a deer count? Those buggers are sneaky!

Doesn’t matter anyway. I spun my car on ice and smacked into a tree, I backed into a car in a parking lot. Got several speeding tickets. And I lent my car to a friend and he got a parking ticket and “forgot” to tell me. That still showed up.

I’ve been driving since 1954 and have been involved in one accident in my life. In a parking lot, I made a right turn around a large black van at 5 MPH to find a woman coming the other way in my lane. She claimed, I kid you not, that you are supposed to drive on the left in parking lots. Her fender was bent, no damage to my car. I have had a couple tickets in all those years, one for left turn violation and one I got in the mail supposedly for running a light, but I had no memory of that. And one for a burnt out rear light. I try to be constantly aware of everyone else on the road. And telling my wife what an idiot those other drivers are. To be honest I don’t drive very much. My previous car had about 60,000 km after 17 years. The current one is 14 years old and is about to pass 31,000 km.

My father drove for at least 45 years (he died at 63) and was never in an accident and got one ticket in his life, for stop sign violation.

I tried to think back to how long I’ve been driving, and it’s scary to realize that it’s been damn close to 50 years. Never an accident, at-fault or otherwise, unless you count the time in my youth when I backed into a concrete post in a parking lot, but the damage was minimal. My annual mileage was always more or less typical, with a large part of it living in a medium-sized town and then later in a major city with horrendous traffic.

There’s no denying that luck was a big part of it. But I do have a strong sense of defensive driving, instinctively always on the lookout for what “the other guy” might do unpredictably. And I’ve had a few close calls where I was saved only by luck, each one a new lesson learned, mostly in one way or another reinforcing the point “do not ever get distracted, even for a second”. Though I very rarely get traffic tickets (my record has been clean for years) I admit that back in my youth I got them in abundance, mostly for speeding.

I’ve been driving for more than 60 years and had only one serious accident when I was rear-ended. But when I think of all the times I’ve done really screwed up things while driving, like speeding, not noticing stop signs, forgetting to turn on the headlights, going the wrong way on a one-way street, it’s just luck and the vigilance of other drivers that has kept my accident record clean.

Driving 50 years, well over a million miles (250K or so as a professional courier/delivery driver) and no at faults. One nasty accident at age 20 due to a busted tie rod and been rear ended a couple times but never run into anyone. Did spin my van once on a slick oil patch covered in water on a freeway entrance but didn’t hit anything and it was late enough that there wasn’t any traffic. Had a whole bunch of near misses, any one of which could have been fatal but managed to avoid them all. *knocks wood*

Been driving since 1986. Have driven over 600,000 miles on my cars in that time. Probably another 100k on rental cars when I was traveling a lot for work in the 1990s in the big empty states.

Have never had a ticket. I did get arrested twice for traffic offenses but all charges were dismissed. Once for driving an unregistered and uninsured vehicle (registered and insured in another state) and once for driving a stolen vehicle (trooper claims he fat fingered the license plate number).

I’ve also received warnings for driving too slow, waiting too long at a stop sign and speeding. The speeding one was valid. The other two were 100% pretext or harassment.

If the other side of the intersection isn’t clear, it’s a good idea to stop and wait before entering.

To the OP, I don’t have any official at fault accidents. I have wrecked a car when I was a teen driving too fast on a dirt road though and I have had a couple of minor incidents where I have bumped my car into an object while manoeuvring in a car park.

I hit a deer once, and was hit by a deer once (it ran into the side of my car). I’ve been rear-ended at least 3 times with only minor damage (I don’t think those were ever my fault, even morally) in almost 2 decades.

It’s mostly a matter of being cautious, driving the speed limit, and luck.

I’ve been in – three accidents I think? Two I was rear-ended at a relatively low rate of speed, one was a four-car accident on a wet road where the lead car spun out. That one, by all accounts, I should have been cited for following too close for conditions (if I’m being fair and honest), but I was not. Incidentally, none were in my own car. The only damage ever done to my own car, I wasn’t even in the car, but a pick-up truck rear-ended into it about five or ten seconds after I stepped out of my car.

There were a couple of times I could have been seriously T-boned if I wasn’t paying attention but, thank God, I was. As for driving, the last moving violation I received was … fifteen years ago? But I speed pretty much every time I drive (5-10 over on regular streets – but not side streets – and up to 20+ on the highway) and roll stops if conditions look clear and safe to me.

In 49 years I’ve never had a moving violation and have been in four accidents, none of which were my fault. There was one, though, that technically was my “fault” but I believe it was a set-up. It was at a curving right turn. The van in front of me started the turn. I looked to the left to confirm that there were no cars coming and began moving forward. Then the van stopped halfway into the turn. I bumped into it. The van was not damaged but the plastic grill on my little car was busted. The van driver and I agreed that there was no damage to her van and I would take care of my car so there was no need to call the police.

But then she began insisting that I give her my insurance information. I told her that I would not do that unless we got a police report. She did not want that. She was very pushy, had her friend take a picture of my license plate and generally made a scene for no good reason. It was scary. I finally told her if we weren’t calling the police, I was leaving. I was a little worried that she might cause trouble later but nothing ever happened. Since I believe that she did cause the accident to try to pull some scam, I think I still have a perfect driving record.

27 years, no accidents of any kind with me at the wheel. The only almost exception was being notified by the police that I rolled back into someone at a stoplight (I was a newbie learning a stickshift, and was on a hill). I didn’t think I actually touched the other person, and in any case there was no damage to either car, so nothing ever came of it.

I was in the passenger seat while a friend caused an accident. He was in a right-turn-only lane, and went straight–across the intersection was a matching merge lane. A car slightly ahead of us, in the real thru lane, made a right turn into a parking lot on the opposite side. My friend T-boned them. I pretty much predicted the entire outcome from when I realized my friend wasn’t turning right, but I had about 2 seconds to somehow describe what he did wrong and why he should slow down, fast… I failed at that.

I’m 54, and have been driving since I was 16. Despite being a fairly fast and aggressive driver, I have only been in two accidents, neither of which was my fault. And I do a lot of driving.

I mostly attribute it to luck, though. :stuck_out_tongue:

My folks taught me how to drive when I was about 11. I regularly drove around the mobile home park that my family owned (I worked there), and on country roads near our house. This really helped. When I got my license I was already quite experienced.

I used to drive about 15000 miles a year, less now that I work from home. For the last 30 years most has been mountain driving interspersed with tourists in town. The tourists are the worst. Ice/snow for half the year (we may get snow on Tuesday).

I got my drivers license in '76 and have driven every day since then (unless I have the flu I guess) I’ve never been involved in an accident regardless of fault.

I think learning at an early age contributes to my clean record.