Adventures,  Costa Rica,  Wendi's Daily Blog

#100 – Car Accident in Costa Rica

Well, I did it!!!!!!  Here’s my . . .

Initially I thought I would share something spiritual today, in honor of my goal being met, but we had something “adventurous” happen to us Wednesday morning, so I think it might be more fitting to share that adventure for my 100th post!


Well, the title definitely gives it away, but I bet you would still LOVE to hear the story.


Do you see GingerSnap? It is her first year of Seminary. Pretty awesome!!!


Wednesday morning was dawning late, so it felt a bit chilly.  I ran Seminary carpool as normal and enjoyed my “one hour alone time” in the dark.  I am surprised how late the sun is rising.  I honestly don’t remember the sun rising so late – 5:45 a.m.  It usually rises around 5:15 a.m.  but maybe it is the time of year??  Anyway, it was a normal morning, other than the sun just barely rising, as I scooped up my 3 passengers and headed for our homes.


I headed out of the church/temple parking lot and onto the main road.  As I began to leave the “driveway” of the temple, I looked to my left and saw that the light was red, so no traffic was coming. I also saw the Seminary teacher and his sister starting to cross the main road I was about to drive on.  Then I looked to the right and saw that no cars were in my way, so I began to drive.


I didn’t drive very fast because in about 50 meters I needed to slow down and turn left.  I saw that no oncoming traffic was on the road, so I blinked left and began to turn left when . . .



I honestly was so confused.  What could I have possibly hit?


My answer came immediately to the left of me as I watched a motorcycle slide across my car and then topple over, into the oncoming side of traffic.   A woman was walking by and as the man on the motorcycle started to pick it back up she yelled at him to STOP what he was doing because he could probably get a lot of money out of us.  Thankfully I couldn’t understand her fully but the look on her face of ugly greed was purely evident.



“Is this honestly happening?” is all I could think.  What do I do now?


I immediately thought about the Seminary student in our car and knew that if I called the other Seminary carpool driver, who happens to be our English speaking Stake President, that he could pick her up and take her home.  He was AWESOME and said that he was on his way without asking any questions, or acting put out.  This was my first blessing.


Then I got out of the car to take a look at the damage.  Immediately I was surrounded by witnesses and all who were in the other Seminary carpool car.  I was grateful that they were all agreeing with what I thought – “I was the one hit!”  And by a motorcycle of all vehicles.



I called Paul and he was of course concerned and since we don’t have a working second car, he said he would get to me as soon as he could grab an Uber.  Next I called the car rental company and thankfully got someone who spoke English.  He said he would contact the insurance company to come to me.  Then I called my husband back and told him not to call the car rental company.  He was grateful I had found a contact number.  Then the Seminary teacher asked if I wanted him to call the Police.  I was grateful for his help, as well as his Spanish – but maybe I should have called?  Maybe they would have come much faster?



As we waited, all I could think about was the motorcycle driver.  I felt so bad for him.  Where is it legal to pass a car on the left and on a two lane road?  As you can see in the pictures, there is a double yellow line.  NO PASSING!!!  I kept going over what happened in my mind, trying to find out what I might have done wrong?  Then I looked up and saw that we were surrounded with friends and English and the comfort that comes from knowing that we didn’t do anything wrong . . .


And yet here he is, standing next to the bus and his motorcycle, ALL ALONE!!!!


I was concerned about his shoulder and the police had asked if anyone needed an ambulance.  Our Seminary teacher, David, said yes for the man but it took 45 minutes after the accident for the ambulance to arrive.  We are grateful it wasn’t a REAL emergency! 


Thankfully the motorcyclist had called for his brother, so he wasn’t alone the entire wait.  He was alone while the ambulance took care of him but he did have the comfort he needed because after the ambulance left it took another hour for us to file a report with the insurance and the police.  A total of 2 hours from start to finish!!



Our Stake President was AWESOME and directed traffic the first hour, until a police officer arrived.  Then he gathered the carpool kids and got them home.  The traffic cop did a terrible job directing the traffic and we were commenting that our Stake President should do it for a living.  Sadly, the cop started to notice people’s expired registration (or that they were talking on their cell phones – also illegal in Costa Rica) and started to pull people over, instead of helping with the traffic congestion.  This seemed illegal to me that he was doing this.  Wasn’t our accident first priority?  So Paul jumped in and started helping traffic flow around our vehicles.


Costa Rican law used to state that you are not allowed to move vehicles that have been in an accident until the police and insurance company have arrived on the scene and give you permission to move your vehicle.  Thankfully that law is no longer mandatory because it caused EXTREME traffic delays and even more accidents.  Except, Costa Rica does allow certain companies to still insist that vehicles not be moved after an accident.  Companies like: car rental companies, certain insurance companies or even bank lenders.  So, because our car is a rental/lease it could not be moved.




Waiting for over 100 minutes with our car blocking traffic made it rather fun to see that WE were the ones causing the warning “RED CONGESTION” line on GoogleMaps and Waze.




If you look at the first picture, we are the blue dot.  A warning has been given that a car accident has happened (the white car in a red circle).  In the next picture, we are the blue arrow.  The red line indicates that you will only be able to drive 10 kilometers per hour in this area of the road.  That is because we were blocking the flow of traffic.  CRAZY!!!


Ironically, after ALL of that waiting, especially with those involved in or witnessing the accident, the police did not take statements, nor did the recording officer determine who was at fault.  This is all something that I still have to do next week at the transit office of Heredia.   I want to be irritated but I am choosing not to be.  We were truly blessed to be surrounded in so much love and happiness, rather than stress, loneliness and angst. 




When we got home, the two youngest (who had to fend for themselves while Paul helped me) had breakfast waiting for us all.  They made a cute “lemonade stand” and had us use play money to buy their food.  I’m grateful that these two knew how to turn an odd/unfamiliar situation into something fun.  After breakfast, and me filling out insurance forms with my side of what happened, Paul and I took the wrecked car to the car rental company. 



Sadly, no cars were available to use until the next day.  So Paul took an Uber to work and I took an Uber to the temple.  I knew that if I didn’t go on with the day that I already had planned, I would spend the rest of the day thinking too much about my life and what is happening right now.  So although I could not control what happened that morning, nor all the other ups and downs in our lives at this moment, I could control where I spent some of my time that day.  And hopefully my time was used to help someone else control their own life; something they couldn’t do for themselves.



After the temple, I treated myself to some fried shrimp and fish, along with a healthy smoothie (cucumber, celery, orange and pineapple).  When we moved to Costa Rica, I honestly thought that our family would be eating A LOT more fish since we live only an hour from the ocean.  But Costa Ricans LOVE CHICKEN – fried chicken to be more specific.  Finding a good fish restaurant has been tough for me and not something my family is really interested in seeking.  But one of the Temple Missionaries recommended it to me, so I took the opportunity to treat myself and it turned out okay.  Not my favorite but not too bad.  Bottom line, at least I had some R&R before heading back home to my kiddos.



The next day Paul was able to pick up our loaner rental car until our normal car is fixed.  This one is a FIAT.  I have never driven a FIAT (it is a manual) but it looks like fun.  Thankfully I know how to drive a manual and in all honesty, I am just grateful to have a working car.  I honestly thought that we wouldn’t get one and was already planning how the kids and I would walk to church this Sunday (only about a 30 minute walk from our house – 2.5 km).  So, I guess we will have a ride to church after all, as well as Seminary in the morning (Thanks Spencer for filling in yesterday!!!!).  I will say that not knowing if we would have a car was a good experience because I knew we could walk to church, just like many of our ward members already have to do.  We have so much to be grateful for in our lives!!!


Well, that is it for this adventure.  I will say that I feel TRULY blessed that it all turned out the way that it did Wednesday.  I look back and see that I had 3 Priesthood brethren with me for most of the 2 hours and one of them was my husband AND they each spoke Spanish and English.  That is almost unheard of!!  My kids had friends to support them.  We were able to get the car sent to be fixed and then blessed to have Uber available for us to use.  Thank heaven for Uber!!! 


The temple was also open (it is closing in a couple weeks for maintenance) so I was able to go to the temple and find peace and solace there.  Then I went to lunch, ran into the Seminary teacher and was able to find a way to serve him (we are providing breakfast for Seminary this morning), and then I had a second nice Uber ride home, and did pretty well speaking Spanish with the driver.  Last, but not least, I received a thoughtful email from my dear cousin, and #1 blog fan, with encouraging quotes – just what I needed.  I was also able to tell her all about my experience that morning – something that I also needed for myself.


So, I can’t complain.  I have been well taken care of!!


Thanks for listening . . . still!  Here’s to hopefully MANY MORE blog posts.  Thank you for your sweet comments and for the encouragement to keep on going.  I love you!!!!!!!!!






One Comment

  • Allison Owen

    What an adventure! I’m glad it all worked out for you and that no one was seriously injured! Your attitude through all this is inspiring! Love you!

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