Getting into an Accident in Croatia

The drivers of Zagreb are insane. When you’re walking around Zagreb and you have to cross any intersections, you’re playing with your life. It’s even worse to be in a car with a driver from Zagreb. So it was only a matter of time before we got into an accident. And sure enough, it took only 3 days.

We had booked a tour to Plitvice Lakes National Park, which picked us up from our hostel. Our driver arrived just in time in a small white van. The van was actually just transportation to a larger coach bus, but on the way to the tour agency office where the coach was waiting, we spent 10 or 15 minutes on the road in the little white van.

In that short time while plowing through the traffic-jammed streets of the city, the van was hit on the rear passenger side by a person backing out of a parking space. He was going so fast I’m surprised he didn’t clear the car, but he didn’t. It wasn’t a major hit, but we had to stop.

I’m from Miami, FL, where a fender bender means you’re about to lose 3 hours of your life, get a ticket from an asshole cop even if you weren’t at fault, and get sued by the other uninsured driver for a fake injury that their fake doctor will document for them. The whole ordeal will take several months to resolve and you’ll end up paying hundreds of dollars in increased insurance premiums. And that’s actually not the worst case scenario. Florida drivers have shot and killed each other over road rage incidents.

So I was sitting in this van thinking our tour was fucked. We were going to have to wait for the cops to come, which in Zagreb traffic could take hours. We’d have to stay because we were witnesses, and we would miss the opportunity to see the lakes.

I was devastated for the entire 5 minutes it took to resolve the issue. Both our driver and the woman in the other car got out to examine the damage, which was some, but not substantial. No one yelled. The cops weren’t called. They exchanged information and took pictures of the damage. With a quick apology for the delay from our driver, we were on our way, breathing a sigh of relief.

By the end of the day, I forgot we even got into accident that morning. They may drive like crazy people, and their cars may be a little messed up for it, but my God, they’re civilized. And what a pleasure it is to be among people that are not complete savages.