2 December 2013

Losses and Lessons: Get it in gear, kid (your brain, not your dad’s ’69 Camaro)

VEHICLE COVERED: 1969 Chevrolet Camaro

WHAT WENT WRONG: There’s a reason that the most dangerous drivers on the road are first-year drivers: They lack the experience and decision-making skills of their older, road-tested counterparts. In fact, even when they aren’t on the road they can make poor decisions that lead to accidents, as one very trusting father found out.

The owner of a 1969 Camaro backed halfway out of the garage to keep exhaust fumes at a minimum while he did some tune-up work under the hood. His 16-year-old son volunteered to help, and when the work was completed he jumped behind the wheel and started the car. The problem was the Camaro was still in gear. As soon as he let out the clutch, the car lurched forward, striking his father and crashing into the back wall of the garage.

DAMAGE/LOSS: Dear old dad was fortunate, relatively speaking. He suffered a broken pelvis but escaped with his life. The garage wall required repair, and the Camaro sustained damage to the front bumper, hood, driver’s side fender and door. Hagerty covered the $3,299.97 repair bill.

LESSON: Three obvious lessons here: 1. Think twice before handing your classic car keys to a teenage driver; 2. When starting a manual-transmission vehicle, make sure the clutch is engaged and the car isn’t in gear before you turn the key; and 3. Step to the side of the car before allowing someone else to start it.

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