by Richie Frieman
There are many things you can count on in life: death, taxes, a teen star hating her parents, and some stranger dinging your car with their car door. It's happened to me a number of times. I've been both the dinger and the dingee and I marvel at how many people "ding and dash" without a care in the world.
I'll never forget this one time a few years back when I came out of my home to find a dent in my driver-side door that was stained white. I looked around and saw a white van, now conveniently parked a few yards away, with a silver streak on its passenger-side door, which matched the color of my silver car. Sadly, the driver was nowhere to be found and clearly didn’t think this was a big deal, so there was nothing I could do about it.
Don’t be that guy. When you ding an unattended car, there are 3 things you must do right away:
1) Put a note on the damaged car with your phone number, email address, and an apology. Don't write a lengthy, sappy letter about awful you feel. Just a short note explaining that it was an accident.
2) Take a photo of your car, the dinged car, the scene, etc. Even shoot a video if you can. Just to make sure you capture exactly what happened.
3) Write down the license plate number and make/model of the damaged car.
Now you have to wait.
If you ding someone’s car while they’re inside it, that's another ball of wax. They will probably be pissed, especially at first. Hopefully, because you handle it properly, they will calm down and forgive you.
When you ding a person's car, the worst you can do is simply drive away as if nothing happened. Instead, immediately get out and let them know how sorry you are. Offer your personal information immediately and assure them that you’ll take all the necessary steps to get their car fixed as soon as possible.
Follow the 3 steps I outlined above but make sure you leave the scene with both of you understanding exactly what happened. You don't want your kindness and willingness to remedy the situation to be taken advantage of because that little ding has suddenly turned into a much larger dent and now the person is suddenly feeling whiplash, calling their lawyers, etc.
Dinged bumper on black car from Shutterstock