In Which I Drive into My Own Car with a Lawn Tractor

This post is pretty much just what it says in the title. Yours truly, Genius Driver Extraordinaire, drove into his car Saturday with a new (to us) lawn tractor. Why? Because I’m an idiot. But we already knew that, and you want the juicy details, so here you go.

Thanks to the generosity of a friend blessed with a long memory, we were given a lawn tractor last week. I was really looking forward to cutting down on lawn mowing times. Saturday, I finally had time to take a look at it. It needs some work (new battery, new tires, there’s something up with the way the blades engage, and it looks like the gas tank might need to be switched out. We’re having it looked at.) But I wanted to actually mow the lawn, so I jump started the battery and hooked up the air compressor I have for my car tires. All was going well. My car’s hood was open and door was open as I got the tractor ready to go.

Once all was looking good, I unhooked the tractor and started it up. No problems. Then I decided to drive it off to another corner of my driveway so I could get my Civic back in order. That’s where things went wrong.

My old lawn tractor used a pedal to control its acceleration. This new one has a hand lever you set. So if you want it going faster, you move the hand lever to the speed you want it to be, then leave it there. You can still put on the brakes when you need them, but as soon as you release the brakes, it’s as if your foot was on the gas pedal.

I released the brakes. The tractor roared into motion, eager to slice down any grass in the vicinity. Unfortunately, there was no grass.

Only my Civic and its invitingly open driver-side door.

Time slows down in moments like that. You can see something idiotic is about to happen. You wish you had made different choices. You regret any number of things. But there’s just no getting around the Yuck that’s about to happen.

I panicked. All knowledge of basic vehicle operation fled from my head. I couldn’t have stopped a brick at that moment. The tractor pushed into my car door and proceeded to bend it backward. I came to my senses, sitting up off the seat of the lawn tractor, which activated the kill switch, but the damage had been done.


It’s not a huge dent in the door. Just a slight crease. But the door itself won’t shut, which I’ve been told is a bad thing when you’re driving at freeway speeds. Denisa took it to our mechanic this morning, who recommended a body shop. I’m thinking hundreds of dollars, which wasn’t high on my list of Things I Wanted to Spend My Money On. Between tuning up the lawn tractor and fixing my car door, I might have been able to just buy a new lawn tractor.

However, hindsight is always something something, and I’m pleased to at least report that once my lawn tractor had terrorized my Civic, it went on to cut my lawn with the greatest of ease. No one was injured. which is a good thing. And it’s only money, right?

But note to self: next time I drive an unfamiliar vehicle for the first time, maybe I should do it far away from anything expensive. Out in a wide open area. Like the middle of my lawn.



  • By Kevin Cundick, August 1, 2017 @ 1:21 am

    Hindsight is 20-20. Just ask Kilani Sitake.

  • By Bryce Moore, August 1, 2017 @ 7:02 am

    Thanks, Kevin. Nothing makes me feel better like a misguided, ill-timed jab from a Ute fan. I feel totally better now.

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