Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Car Accident in Jeju Island [South Korea] & What Should Have Been Done.

The original intention was to write a day-by-day itinerary of my just-concluded South Korean trip but i think the above subject shall take precedence given the impact it has on me and my family.

I had a car accident in Jeju Island. 

In a nutshell, i dozed off and the next thing i heard was my sister exclaiming where the heck i was going. *BANG* the car went up the kerb and hit a signpost. Airbags exploded out of the steering wheel (and the dashboard) and the car came to an abrupt stop!

Shocked doesn't quite describe my emotion then. 

I was more worried for both my sisters! Joyce appeared to be fine and Louise, seated at the back, was in a daze and asked what happened. Another Hyundai, 66구 6173, stopped in front of us and three ladies (a mother with her two daughters) dashed out to check if we are alright. So nice right?!?!?

As i was about to say "we are fine", one of the daughters pointed to my sister and gave a muffled scream. I turned to see Louise literally dripping blood! No picture as i absolutely think it is inappropriate; the safety and well being of my sister shall come first!! 

An ambulance came swiftly (everything happened so fast and i didn't really time; i was in a daze and honestly unprepared on what to do next) and all three of us were brought to the nearby Seogwipo Medical Centre. Darn, i didn't even mange to express my gratefulness to the three ladies!! 

Louise was found to have a laceration near her eyelid that eventually required eight stitches but just to play safe, the attending doctor (a Dr Cho who thankfully could speak English) recommended a CT-scan which we agreed. Everything was cleared and i heaved a sigh of relief! 

Condition of my sister's injury as of 19 October 2014; currently, there are some bruises around her eye which would likely subside in the next few days. 

Deservingly, i also had some injuries; second degree burns on my right arm, bruises on my well hidden fat tummy and abrasions on my neck and left arm. 

I wasn't too concerned about myself and chose to seek medical treatment after Louise; I am filled with endless guilt as i couldn't shrink away from my responsibility as the driver as well as the culprit for this accident! :(

The patch of skin was gone and even though it didn't look too bad at that point; raw pinkness has set in and it kind of reminded me of the pink middle of a medium-rare steak. 

Wrapped arm as seen on the second day of the accident. The dressing was a pain in the ass since it deters me from washing myself efficiently! Even the supposedly waterproof opsite dressing failed miserably. 

Total medical bills came up to be ₩664,670 (roughly S$800). No police report was made as we didn't hit any other vehicle / person. That's another big relief. 

Sidetracked a little, i totally love the way the medications were being dispensed in the hospital! Each sachet (printed with my name) has all the medications i would require in one sitting; hence, it is just a matter of tearing it up, dumping the pills into my mouth and swallowing them with a mug of water!  Convenient right!? 


Given this unfortunate experience, i think it would be good to share some afterthoughts. First and foremost, never tire yourself out! If you know you are sleepy, park the car at the car park and take a snooze! 

Second, note the emergency number!! In South Korea, the ambulance number is 119. From what i remember (not sure how true that is), emergency numbers would work even if you have no roaming services! In case i am wrong, always opt for roaming when you are overseas.

Lastly, the major issue i faced in Korea was the language barrier. In my honest opinion, i have heard better Mandarin than English from some of the Koreans. Therefore, note the number for voluntary interpretation service.

For the ladies of vehicle 66구 6173, i am really, really indebted to your help and assistance. Without the three of you to calm us down and follow up with contacting the ambulance and car rental company, we would definitely be in a nervous fix! 

Thank you, thank you and thank you! p.s. i would try to contact the car rental company to check if i could have their contacts but in case anyone can help, i would be most grateful too! 

Those interested in my actual itinerary to Jeju and Seoul may click the link here. It's a summary but clicking the "day" will allow for more details. :) 


  1. Nice trip though you have been into accident but thanks to God you were alright.
    Nice and beautiful soul for the 3 ladies ;) God bless you. I will visit Jeju soon too. Hope to have good days there. Please visit Philippines too.

    1. Thanks Ruben and like you mentioned, i am glad i am in an accident with no major injury! Good lesson learnt no doubt. Speaking of the three ladies, i sent an email to the rental company but no news. :(

      Would love to visit Philippines!! I have heard a lot about the beaches there and i absolutely love snorkeling! haha

  2. Hi Cavin!

    Thanks for your sharing! I am so glad that nothing major happen to you and your sister 😪 As I will be going for my school's summer programme this upcoming July and this will be very first time driving on a foreign land and on the left-hand wheel, I would like to ask the following question and hope you can help me to answer them 😊

    1) Did you buy any other personal insurance for your rented car during the road trip?
    2) How much did you have to pay for the damaged car?
    3) Are there any tips for a novice driver like me who have never drove on the left hand wheel before to prevent accidents?
    4) Can you share with me generally how did you go about handling this accident?

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi! Where would you be going!? And i sure hope you have an accident-free trip! It was such a torture going around with a bandage even though i am extremely thankful that the injury was minor.

      Okay, on your questions:

      1) i had personal travel insurance that i can claim my medical bills from. For the rented car, i purchased the insurance from the car rental company.

      2) not a single cent as e car insurance covered everything!

      3) firstly, always err on the side of caution. secondly, ensure you have plenty of rest and try not to cover too many attractions in one day. thirdly, drive really slowly; e minimal speed would be good.

      4) i am grateful to the Korean family who stopped their car to help us. I passed them the document that was given to me by the car rental company and they managed to call the company for us. at the hospital, i contacted the car rental company to send us another vehicle and it was delivered to us a few hours later.

      Have a good trip!

  3. That is one scary experience. I'm very glad you all are ok and for the kind ladies that stopped to help! Thank you for sharing this experience and bringing awareness to this. I think it's very important indeed to be well rested before taking the road!

    1. totally! nowadays i would remind myself not to drive if i am too tired.