My sister was in a fender bender last weekend. What is a fender bender? Fender bender is a common idiom. It means a minor car accident. (A fender is a part of a car – the metal side panel over one of the front wheels. Bender comes from the verb “bend”.) No one gets hurt, and there is minimal damage to the car. Usually fender benders occur in a parking lot or when you are parking your car. (So, when people say they have been in a fender bender you usually don’t ask them if they got hurt.) Finally, fender bender is usually used with the verb “get in” (and sometimes “have”).

My sister was in a fender bender last weekend. It cost her $300 to fix her car.

The parking lot is always very busy, so there are a lot of fender benders on the weekend.

Have you ever had a fender bender?

If you are in a car crash that is more serious, we say that you were in a car accident. In an accident, the car has more damage and people may be injured by the crash.

If your car is damaged so much that it cannot be fixed we say that it is totaled.

His car was totaled in an accident over the weekend. Amazingly, he suffered only minor injuries in the crash.

I was in a car accident last year. I hurt my back and my car needed over $2000 in repairs.

If someone is in a car accident and they drive away before the police come, the accident is called a hit-and-run. This is a serious crime in the U.S. and you can be arrested for it!

The police are looking for the driver involved in the hit-and-run accident on Main Street last night.

My friend was in a hit-and-run, but a witness wrote down the license plate of the car as it drove away.