I’ve never been in a motor vehicle collision before. That fact changed this week when i was driving to early morning prayers at 4am. The roads were in perfect condition. There was no traffic. I was proceeding through the overpass at an intersection on a green light when I suddenly struck a vehicle that “came out of nowhere”. I still cannot recall seeing the vehicle. My first memory is of the airbags deploying and I couldn’t see anything as the six airbags in the front and the sides covered all the windows. I smelt the burning powder and my chest hurt and my nose felt on fire. The car spun around and I felt another impact. During this time I recall acknowledging that I had been hit but that I was safe and somehow protected. I thanked God and told HIm that I loved him. Once the car stopped, I realized that I was on an overpass and that I had to get out of my car before I was struck by another vehicle. But how to get out when all the airbags have been deployed and the car is locked down? Neither my driver’s side of the door nor the passenger side of the door would open. Since I had been able to scan myself and assess that I only had minor injuries, I was able to crawl to the back of the car and kick the back door open and get outside.
First thing upon getting out was to assess the scene for safety. The front of my car was totally crushed . I saw the other vehicle with a single male driver and it was pinned against the overpass and had also spun around. He was looking pretty stunned but no obvious injuries. No other vehicles in sight. I called 911 and requested both police and ambulance. Gratefully, the time from the 911 call to lights and sirens with the fire truck and ambulance, was within 5 minutes. But that was enough time for the other driver to get out of his car and try to flee the scene. However, the fire fighters saw him running and were able to track him down. They also reported that there were multiple bottles of vodka in his vehicle.
The ambulance personnel were wonderful and assessed me and took me to ER. Long story short, I have a probable undisplaced nasal fracture, a fantastic shiner that Mike Tyson would be jealous of and an undisplaced fracture of my sternum. Oh and the bruises keep showing up everywhere. I am so incredibly grateful that I was able to walk away from the collision and feel very blessed. But lots of learnings about what to do in the event of a collision that I need to share with you:
- Wear your seatbelt- there is no excuse for this. It will save your life.
- Have your headrest adjusted appropriately. This will protect your head and neck. Mine doesn’t hurt at all
- Airbags are wonderful. Some minor injuries from them are a nuisance but worth it. I’ll get over my nose resembling Rudolf. At least I was cushioned from all the sides. Yes, airbags can cause some serious injuries so you have to make sure that you are sitting the appropriate distance away from them. Please do that always.
- In the event that you are alone and no one is there to help open your car doors, , scan yourself for injuries first, and then try to open the front doors and it they won’t open , crawl to the back of your car and kick the back door open.
- Cars can be replaced. My brand new car did what it had to do to keep me safe and I am eternally grateful for it. Unfortunately it is not repairable but that’s a headache that the insurance company will have to deal with.
- Sternal fractures- even small ones- hurt. Especially when you have to cough or laugh – and heaven forbid you have to sneeze. But they heal -so continue to be grateful and laugh even if it hurts. It’s good for you!
- Soft tissue injuries hurt. But keep moving. Stiffening up will hurt even more. And a bath with lavender infused epsom salts really helps. And as a bonus, you will smell lovely 😉
- Above all make sure you drive a safe vehicle. AJ and I swear by our Toyotas and we’ve always loved our Rav 4s. (I’m going to get my fifth one soon)
I am also trying to be charitable and not thinking bad of the other driver. But I have to say that I did get a giggle out of my youngest one who had some choice words for him. She clearly indicated that she wanted him put away for a long time. I asked her to not waste her energy on the negatives and just let the universe look after him. Without missing a beat, she said that indeed she was letting the universe look after him- she just wanted to put her thoughts in the universe’s “suggestion box”. Can’t argue with that!
And there’s a reason why I have “AJ4EVER” as my license plate. Now I just have to somehow get that license plate back.
Thank you to all of who have helped me this week. Especially my oldest who turned into her mother. And please take a moment to embrace life. It is so precious and so fragile and we cannot take it for granted.