Off-Topic A Moral Dilemma.

Discussion in 'Lounge & Gossip' started by sunbeem, Thursday 10th Apr, 2014.

  1. sunbeem Club Member ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

    Imagine you've just come out of the supermarket, and you're sitting in your car, about to drive away. You reversed into your space, while the car on your right has fronted in. A movement catches your eye, and you look sideways and realise that there's an elderly couple in the car, and they're about to reverse out. You exchange a friendly smile with the lady driver, in an "after you" kind of a way, and she gently moves off, unfortunately applying a scintilla too much right lock, and the car beyond her, a smart little saloon, stirs slightly in it's sleep as plastic scrapes on plastic, and an exchange of paint takes place.

    There's a damaged patch the size of your hand on the parked car, and the lady is aware she's done it -- her world is suddenly a darker place, worried words are exchanged with her partner, and in some considerable consternation, she drives slowly away.

    You saw everything, you could have stopped her escaping the scene of the crime, or taken her registration and offered to be a witness for the aggrieved owner -- but something prevented you. You hope it was compassion, but suspect cowardice. The imagined sight of an angry owner berating an old lady looms large in your mind as you drive away, realising that in order to avoid hypocricy, you will now have to forgive those who trespass against your own paintwork.

    So if you were to find yourself in this invidious situation, what would be your response - and why.
    Identities have been masked, to protect the guilty.

  2. ArcticFire Club Veteran ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

    Scotland Graham Scotland
    I hate the damage I suffer at the hands of crap drivers in car parks and it's not usually an easy fix. Dings, dents, scuffs, scrapes and scratches.... usually by loud mouth chavtastic horrors with their big gobs always on standby with anticipation - probably because they know their own selfish actions will attract decent people to speak up.

    In this case, I can appreciate the empathy but then do old people take advantage of the perceived innocence they portray? I can't help but think, what if a mother was loading her weekly shopping into the boot whilst her 3 year old child was standing at the rear corner watching her only to be floored by a driver who probably isn't fully capable of driving safely anymore with poorer visibility, slower reactions and probably more likely to panic when under pressure.

    They don't know the circumstances of the owner of the vehicle they hit, what if it were a struggling single mother, or a borrowed car from a friend/family, a lease car where the damage will have to be repaired back to perfect condition.

    If they were decent people they would have stopped and left a note.
  3. DeviateDefiant Co-Founder Staff Team

    United Kingdom Leo Northants
    Aside from anything else, you write with a touch of finesse. That read beautifully, very poetic :Hey:

    My take on it is quite blunt, I understand the couple is elderly, but I'd have most definitely left a note for the driver of the scraped car. Why? Because regardless of their age, stature, race or any other variable - a "hit and run" is wrong. Leaving a note in my mind is the lesser of two evils.

    Also, making her confront the reality of her actions might have stopped her from being callous in the future. She might take extra caution, or whatever else, but that could have an affect on other incidents she may be involved in on the road at a later date - minor, or major.

    She should still be made accountable.
    PeteMM likes this.
  4. Chunkylover53 Club Veteran ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

    The same issue happened to me nearly a year ago, I like you was always swayed by the fact that an old lady had hit the car hence the feeling sorry factor. My thread -> General - What should I have done? • Honda Karma

    Long story short I ended up leaving a note on the dash because at the end of the day - that said in your case it just seems like a slight miscalculation on her part.

    If I were you I probably would have put a note on the saloons dash and left it at that. That said I'm not one for confrontation when it comes to the elderly, around a month ago an elderly couple parked up next to me and dented my door when they got out - I heard all this as I was texting my mate at the time. All I did was get out, inspect it, accept her apology and tell her its fine...
  5. sunbeem Club Member ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

    I appreciate the points you make arcticfire, and can't disagree. To conflate two of your observations, perhaps decent people, under pressure, make mistakes they later regret?
    I'd be interested to know the aftermath of such a case as this -- will she accept that her driving is no longer up to standard, and hand in her licence -- and would not such a result be an overall "good thing?" After all, it may remove the possibility of future, more serious accidents such as you describe.
    Scant comfort to the aggrieved party certainly, their feelings will remain unknown, but perhaps in the wider view there could be elements of a positive outcome ... if the old lady has a conscience this will not be forgotten for a long time, and the effect on the observer is also part of the mix.

  6. Nels Moderator Staff Team

    I sympathise for the old couple. I can visualise them not knowing what to do.
    For the driver to admit she is losing her ability to control her car and hence stop driving could mean loss of their independence.
    A huge loss for anyone. Even more so for the elderly.

    It would be very upsetting for the 'owner' of the other car.
    Plus the added cost and inconvenience of repairs.
    Pay out themselves or claim on insurance ?

    Would I want to 'spill the beans', no.
    Should I? Yes

    We all are accountable for our actions, including the elderly, and must face the consequences.
    sunbeem likes this.
  7. exec Club Veteran ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

    United Kingdom London
    Would depend on what the couple are like, that would dictate my action. I had an elderly couple, not that elderly, perhaps late 50's to early 60's, bunch of middle class :tut: in a twatty Merc coupe bumper ride my car in front of me literally, the idiot didnt seem to klnow how to park or operate a car, I told him what the heck are you doing your touching my car, he was going no i'm not, even though its right in front of me and I can see it, so I started taking pictures of him, and he started getting irate and then got out of the space to drive off, he stopped and swore at me, i don't normally swear, but was raging, (because all these idiot tourists always come down this area take parking spaces and my bumper is literally fubared because of these drivers),

    so i started to swear back to him and told him to eff from the area and never come back, he started mouthing off and saying he would slap so i told him to get out and try and slap and walked up to his car, his wife then started to going mental haha telling to drive off, they both sped off.

    I didn't report him though as it was minimal damage and not worth the hassle, but in general I would probably tell an owner if the damage was significant, as I can't stand hit and run drivers who damage other peoples property and drive off.
  8. sunbeem Club Member ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

    Thank you Deviate Defiant, for those kind words, I think that for me, your comment regarding "making her confront the reality of her actions" is the nub of the matter. However, to assume that she would not do so without "the observer's" intervention, would be a step too far for me personally. Something about the smile that had just been exchanged could be relevant there ... to expect the worst of her then, would somehow negate that communication.

    Had I been in your position chunkylover53, things would have been simple for me - the damage, the irresponsible attitude, and the inability to drive carefully, would have persuaded me to see justice done at all costs.
    I do hope that I would have responded in the same civilised manner as you did to a damaged door, and an immediate apology.

    Nels, your understanding of, and empathy for both sides is clear. I'm in agreement on all points, and while I share your opinion that she should be held accountable, I would hope that she would come to a good decision when the heat had died down. Too late for the aggrieved party I admit, but if she had owned up, and simply taken a fiscal hit, then perhaps guilt would not affect her decision to keep driving, while as things stand, maybe her guilty conscience will demand that she reappraises her need to retain her licence.

    I'm not above getting angry with other drivers either exec, though personally I invariably feel that I've let myself down when I do. There seems to be something about cars and driving that can bring out the worst in many of us, and the disproportionate nature of some responses really disturbs me, (especially when they are my own). I see life primarily as a learning experience, and I still have an awfully long way to go.

    Thank you all for your thoughtful responses - drive safely.

    DeviateDefiant and Nels like this.
  9. Mike c Valued Contributor ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

    United Kingdom Mike Telford
    I am what was referred to in earlier comments as elderly ( well 61 in fact) but I consider myself to be a competent driver and until 6 months ago a lorry Hiab driver. The fact of the matter is of course that every driver is responsible for their actions, regardless of their age , stature, religion or any other factor. As such, the "elderly" person should have done the right thing and left her details so that the recipient could make the decision to repair the damage themselves or approach the person who did the damage for recompense. I would have been the first to have left contact details.
    Having had the same done to my wife's Civic a number of years ago and faced a bill for over £1000 we would have been pleased to have received a contact address. There are too many people today who will leave people to pick up the cost of their failures.
    Judging the ability of others based upon age is grossly unfair particularly when you consider that on a recent insurance survey it was proven that the " elderly" do not cost insurance companies as much as young inexperienced drivers , a lot of which have accidents within the first 6 months of driving.
    Mike c
    PeteMM and Nels like this.
  10. sunbeem Club Member ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

    £1,000 worth of damage is one thing Mike, scuffed paintwork is another.

    I feel strongly that there is not enough love in the world, and when contemplating any action of which I am uncertain, I ask myself two questions ...
    "Is that what love would lead me to do?"
    "Is that who I am?"

    I respect the validity of your position, and would not say that you are wrong, just that we differ. Neither of us ever sees the full picture, both of us have to live with ourselves, and we both become what we do.

    My response to the event taught me a useful lesson, which I hope not to forget in the heat of the moment, next time my car suffers at the hands of an imperfect driver. I value compassion above most things, paintwork included.

  11. PeteMM Premium Member Club Supporter

    Northern Ireland Pete Belfast, UK
    Take no prisoners!!!!!

    I agree with Mike.

    However, if it was a 17 year old I'd likely to have been harsh enough towards them that they were guilted into leaving details
  12. Mike c Valued Contributor ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

    United Kingdom Mike Telford
    There is no such thing as the perfect driver, after all , at the moment, we are all human and yes we all make mistakes. My point is that she obviously decided that her " victim" should have compassion not her.
    I wonder what the lady would have said if it were the other way round and another driver scuffed her paintwork
    Mike c
  13. sunbeem Club Member ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

    " My point is that she obviously decided that her " victim" should have compassion not her".

    I'm not sure she decided anything Mike. To assume that rational thought processes would operate in those circumstances is a step too far for me.
    Later, when her panic was over - yes.
    As you say, we're all human, and we all make mistakes, and for that reason I believe that without the empathy that realisation can give us, we will not develop the compassion necessary to forgive - rather than condemn.
    If we don't forgive, we harbour resentment, which builds up and sours our life and relationship with others - that's too high a price to pay, and this event was a reminder of that for me.

    The point of this dilemma for me, is that it is not in the external world that I need to decide the rights and wrongs of any situation, the only thing that is important, and any of my business, is my internal reaction, and what it says about me.