At the age of 17, a friend and I skipped school and spent the day hanging out, having a few beers earlier. This is all in the late 70’s early 80’s when people were just beginning to think about the negative impact of DUI and especially, teens drinking. The legal age was 18, so for a 17 year-old, buying a six pack of beer was not even a thing that would cause a convenience store clerk to ask for an ID.Okay, so we’ve established that I was a heathen, skipping school and drinking beer. But back then, none of this was anything that people even gave a second thought about, at least not in my town.It had been several hours since my buddy and I killed the six-pack, but by any honest evaluation, I had at least the minor affect of having had three beers that day. When school was finishing up, I drove my buddy back to the school so he could pick up his car which he had left in the student lot.On our way, an afternoon shower began causing the roads to become slick. I approached a sharp turn and as I made this turn I had taken several times a day, and often in wet conditions, I suspect my speed was at least above what it should have been. I turned the wheel, but the car did not respond and instead, my driver’s side crossed over the double yellow line causing me to hit an oncoming car, who was also slightly over the line.We were both stopped in the middle of a blind curve which meant that we could have been hit by traffic coming from either direction. I was able to reverse my car out of the collision and pull to the side of the road before my buddy and I jumped out of the car, acting on pure adrenaline, to get to the other car and check for injuries.Thankfully, everyone was somewhat okay. The driver of the other vehicle did have a knee injury that got her a nice settlement from my insurance company, and of course, she deserved that settlement. No complaints from me or my parents.A neighbor who lived on that corner heard the ruckus and called the sheriff, who arrived in a few minutes. He asked everyone what happened, got the statements, saw to it that two trucks hauled away both our vehicles and then got the spouse of the other driver to come get his wife.This is all before mobile phones. No pictures of the scene, and no way to call my parents. The officer gave my friend and me a ride back to my house and dropped us off. That whole thing about having had several beers earlier in the day? Never even came up. When I got home, I borrowed my mom’s car and took my friend to the school to get his car. Nobody even wondered if we had skipped school.I think about that incident today, some 40 years later and realize just how much of an impact it could have had on my life. In fact, by today’s standards in the US, a teen who had been involved in a similar incident would have never been allowed to enlist in the military. Surely, the sheriff of today would have been more keen to the fact that I may have been impaired which would have changed the opportunity to enter my chosen career.The final and most important thing I remember about my first car accident was the reaction of my father. When he came home from work he and I drove up to the lot where my car had been taken. It was a horrifying mess. I thought for sure that he would be mad and ground me. Instead, he simply said, “I’m so glad you are okay.”This response would shape me as a father in the way that I handled the inevitable car crashes my own kids were involved with, and the many other situations that some fathers might not handle as gracefully.