For those of us who have been in some form of a car accident, we know that it’s a terrible rush of emotions, damages, and worse, injuries.
We’re surely not at a calmest when an accident happens, assured the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit, and sometimes we say things we don’t mean.
Redditor ConfusedAutist found themselves in such a situation where they started using swear words on the scene.
But when the woman at fault reported them for swearing, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if they were wrong for not holding their temper better.
They asked the sub:
“AITA for swearing in front of a random woman’s child after she hit my car?”
The OP was recently in a car accident.
“I (nonbinary, they/them) was on my way home from work earlier, driving straight in the far right lane on a four-lane road with a green light.”
“Some lady made a right turn at the intersection and slammed right into me, hard enough to push me into the next lane and almost hit the car next to me if he wasn’t speeding.”
“She didn’t even stop at her red light, she just went for it.”
The OP did not agree with the woman’s reasoning.
“She came out of her car with her toddler son, saying he’s in pull-ups and needs to go potty, and that’s why she was in a rush.”
“I get it, I work as an infant teacher at a daycare, but I was obviously enraged because she’s driving so recklessly with a small child in the car, endangering his life (and hers, and mine) just so he can go on the toilet instead of in his pull-up.”
“I said something along the lines of, ‘I don’t give a s**t about a pull-up, you could’ve f**king killed him!'”
The woman did not appreciate the OP’s language.
“So she made a big deal of this and demanded that it was included in the police report.”
“The police officer interviewing me asked me about it, and I didn’t deny it, but he was giving me a look of disapproval, and now I’m confused.”
“I later heard the officer talking about it with two other officers, and it seemed that I just generally am not a good person.”
The OP was worried after that.
“Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think it’s illegal to swear in front of kids, nor did that even need to be brought up with the authorities.”
“Am I really such a bad person for displaying anger in such a way when I was so angry?”
“Like, I obviously don’t normally swear in front of kids during my work, and I’d be kind of upset if someone randomly said those words in front of my young child, but she p**sed me off, so… I’m just confused about how I’m suddenly the bad guy.”
“The police said it’s not my fault btw (by the way), so why did they treat me like it was my fault during the interview?”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some said the OP was right to be upset, swearing and all.
“NTA, it’s one thing to curse out loud casually when you’re in public, say a park or at a grocery store (still legal just frowned upon), and another thing to curse out of frustration and anger after being an actual car accident.”
“I don’t know what reason the police officer has to give whatever look of disappointment, but you cursing doesn’t automatically make you a bad person.” – ThatBrownGuy120
“NTA, you shouldn’t routinely swear in front of kids, but this is far from a routine situation.” – andylovestokyo
“NTA – so the lady endangered her own kid life just to avoid having to clean up after him… and somehow you are the a**hole for swearing in front of the child?”
“I would very much think that crashing your car because you were running a red light is way worst.”
“Policeman are often grumpy and they are mostly there not to be your friend, so don’t mind too much their reaction.” – MaybeAWalrus
“NTA – You were right. She could’ve f**king killed him. Although you could’ve been calmer, the stress of the situation justifies it to me.”
“Also, did she take her toddler out of the car when going to talk to you? Because it sounds like she was using him as a guilt trip so you wouldn’t be mad.” – ghostcraft33
Others agreed and criticized the mother’s reasoning skills.
“NTA. My 1st thought was how she was BLAMING her child for her driving. What else is he at fault for? That is a level of parentification that is next level child abuse….” – KSknitter
“… He’s in pull-ups. As in, pull-up nappies.”
“My son is in those too, and the reason we find pull-ups a good halfway point between nappies and undies is that it literally doesn’t matter if they have an oopsie.”
“I reckon she told the cops something else to make you sound worse.”
“Obviously NTA.” – ATreeInKiwiLand
“NTA. She made a dangerous choice and could have killed or caused permanent harm to you, her child, and herself. She deserved to get yelled at for that.”
“Not only did she apparently not care that she had done that, but she also wanted to make you out to be the bad guy to shift the blame from her. What an awful person.” – LefthandedLemur
“NTA. This woman was being very selfish and there is never a good reason for reckless driving, especially with a child in the car. The Police would hear swear words all the time – you would have been in shock and I don’t blame you!” – xponential31
“NTA. I’m a mom and if I pulled that line on someone, I would expect them to react the same.”
“I personally would have said something similar. Now, swearing in front of a child isn’t illegal. But reckless driving with a child in the vehicle actually is.”
“Failure to stop at the red light? Yep. It’s a whole thing. And she knows it, the cop knows it.”
“Like…there was an actual law broken here, that resulted in a car accident…they really should focus on that.” – Shaneaux
Some, however, pointed out some of the issues of swearing, even in this situation.
“NTA. Should you probably have controlled your temper better? Definitely. Especially in front of a child (a stranger yelling bad words at your mom is probably pretty scary).”
“However, it sounds like it was very much a heat of the moment thing and that the mom needed a wake-up call.”
“But, assuming you’re in the US, many states do have laws against swearing in front of women and children and some have them against swearing in public in general. So depending on where you live, they potentially could have cited you for it.” – mcolt8504
“NTA but to answer your question many places in the Midwest have morality laws on the books that make it illegal for males to swear/curse in front of women and children.” – JadedSlayer
“It’s understandable to be upset after being hit by somebody else. Inappropriate language may not be good for kids, but I would argue a parent who crashes into other drivers while they’re in the car is worse.”
“Did you overreact? Maybe. Does that make you TA? No. NTA.” – DrWhoop87
“People are allowed to not like swearing and to ask others to avoid it around them or their children. But it is an ETIQUETTE issue, not a MORAL one. And etiquette (unlike morality) is just plain less important when people’s lives are at stake.” – dreadedwheat
The OP may have been worried after a gruff engagement with the police and the mother pushing for the OP’s swearing to be included in the report, but the subReddit didn’t think they had anything to worry about. They may have overreacted in the heat of the moment, but since swearing is far less offensive than causing an accident, the OP really shouldn’t be seen as the one at fault.