Dash Cam Outtake: 2013 Ford Focus SE – When You Forget To Put Your Car In Park, It Crashes Into Whatever Is In Its Path

Dash cam ownership comes with one major caveat: It can capture things other drivers do, but it also records stupid things that you do.

I did a very stupid thing on Wednesday.

NSFW Language

I was having a pretty good day before my car smashed into the garage door. I was ahead of schedule with my writing, I picked up some greeting cards while successfully dodging holiday crowds, and Staples finally sent me the $100 rebate they owed me for the laptop I purchased in October. I also had a boat load of Burger King in tow and was looking forward to trying out the Impossible Whopper. I pulled into my driveway and noticed some packages by my front door and thought: “Better go get those!” Of course, there was no need for me to get them at that exact moment. They weren’t running away. I could have just uh, “Focused” on getting my car into the garage.

“This is my life now.”

But that’s not what happened. I happily exited my car to grab the packages. I completely ignored the chimes designed to warn owners that something is up. And I failed to act quickly enough to prevent my car from bumping into the garage door. What the hell is wrong with my brain? Beats me. I did spend the previous hour shoveling ice off my driveway and I didn’t eat breakfast that morning. Perhaps that contributed to my stupidity. In any event, it could have been much worse. I could have been seriously injured. The car could have smashed through the door and gone into the garage. The car could have been more seriously damaged too.

Thankfully, none of that happened. Although the car did sustain some minor damage when the handle rubbed against the bumper. That means it’s officially entered Stage 2 on David Saunders’  Car Life Cycle categorization system. These are fairly deep scratches. But aside from some paint transfer that can definitely be buffed out, that’s all that happened to the car. I will address the scratches in the spring.

As for the door, it sustained enough damage to prevent it from opening. The wood on the bottom section is broken in some areas and the wheel that guides the door along the track is no longer connected to the track. The door also has a bit of a curve to it now. But the damage isn’t severe enough to warrant immediate replacement and we don’t even have to repair anything right now. Besides, the doors are 40 years old. They probably should be replaced anyway. Which is what we’re going to do in the spring. I’ll pay for half the cost. Unfortunately, my car gets the raw end of the deal, as it now has to spend its time freezing its butt off outside.

I do want to change gears a bit to address something that’s frequently discussed in our comments section. Modern safety features are often derided for being unnecessary. I really have no excuse for what happened, but a forward collision system would have most definitely prevented the car from smacking into the door, or worse. An electronic shifter would have also compensated for my ineptitude because most of them automatically shift the car into park when the door is opened. No human is perfect 100 percent of the time. Safety systems save us from ourselves. Just something to keep in mind.

What have I learned from this experience? The forward creep functionality works pretty well, even on a small slope. Garage door openers probably prevent a lot of people from doing what I did. And…that’s about it.

My Certificate of Stupidity from the Society of Schmucks is set to arrive any day now.