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How a car accident changed my perspective on driving near South Campus

My experience getting into a car accident far from home


My first week of the spring semester consisted of 9 a.m. classes, rushed lunches and a totaled car.

The first Tuesday of classes had many snow flurries. Road conditions were awful and I skidded out several times on my way to class, so I was driving slowly and cautiously the entire day.

Despite my efforts to be cautious, the events of the day were out of my control.

There was a constant stream of traffic on Main Street near South Campus that afternoon. I approached the light to make a right turn near Parkside Candy.

I was completely taken aback when my car was thrust into the vehicle in front of me. A minivan rammed into an SUV behind me, causing a four-car collision. I learned the SUV driver was going at least 50 mph. We were lucky no one was hurt.

When I got out of the car, I discovered a smashed-in trunk and a destroyed front bumper.

My first instinct was to be angry and difficult. The driver who caused the accident was going too fast on a snowy day and I paid for his mistake.

I spent the next five hours in the repair shop, on the phone with my insurance company, answering questions and arranging for a rental while my car remained in the shop.

As someone from Westchester, dealing with a car accident so far from home is extremely difficult. Not having my parents with me in person to sort out details and give police statements was quite nerve-wracking. And calling my parents to explain the situation without them physically present was even harder.

In Buffalo, winters are notoriously harsh. Driving conditions bring forth a completely new set of obstacles.

There are horrendous drivers out there, all of whom seem to lack any consideration for the rules of the road.

On North and South Campuses, as well as the surrounding areas, drivers from UB are recognizable because of the parking permit tags visible on their windshields.

Whether you are on your way to class or grocery shopping, the chances of seeing a fellow UB driver are high in the Amherst and Buffalo areas.

After speaking with the repair shop, the initial estimate came out to $6,000 in total damage. Several days later, I received a call saying they found additional damage when examining the frame of my car, which brought the total cost of repair to just over $14,000.

My car is essentially totaled, and I have to return home to find a new one or have my parents come to Buffalo to assist me in buying one here.

Finding a new car is a process that requires detail as well as a solid amount of time to navigate dealerships throughout the area. I’ve been using time before, after and between classes to find a new car, and I’ve found it hard to balance this new task amongst a full-time course load and a part time job.

Even more concerning is the sheer prospect of buying a new car. Beyond insurance covering the loss of my leased vehicle, my family and I are now responsible for coming up with a new down payment.

After this experience, I am more cautious when driving from North to South Campus, and more often than not I keep my music turned off. I obsessively look over my shoulder every time I drive to and from class, especially when driving down Main Street.

While it’s a direct and short drive, getting from North to South Campus involves a flurry of traffic at every time of the day. It’s easy to suggest being more cautious when driving, but paying attention will only go so far. Most of the time, being a defensive and conscious driver goes further.

But for the time being, I think I’ll take the Stampede from North to South to spare falling victim to South Campus drivers.

Brian Evans is the assistant arts editor and can be reached at

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