It was January 31, 2001. I had a brand-new college degree, a building substitute teaching job, a new husband, and a cute apartment in beautiful Bucks County, PA.
As I headed out the door to school, I noticed the thin sheet of ice that covered our deck. I carefully made my way to the car, and got on the road. I drove the familiar fifteen-minute route, thinking about the sixth grade class I was to teach for the next three days.
But then I saw the truck.
A pickup truck pulled down a side street to my left, and as he approached the intersection, he did not stop at the stop sign. As my eyes widened, the truck came to a stop halfway through the opposing lane.
And she didn’t have time to stop.
She would’ve tailboned the truck. But instead, I got hit.
At 40 miles an hour.
I opened my eyes, and the airbag was lying limply in my lap. The windshield was a spiderweb of crushed glass, and through it the hood of my car was at a very strange angle. I saw my cell phone on the floor of the passenger side, and knew there was no way I could reach it.
I smelled the bitter, smoky propellant of the airbag.
I heard someone screaming, “Help me! Help me!” and it took a moment to realize I was the one calling for help.
In the hours that followed, my husband and parents arrived in the ER. I was wheeled into surgery where my doctor repaired my destroyed knee.
My mom came to my apartment every day to help me. I couldn’t even walk to the bathroom by myself. I had ten weeks of physical therapy three times a week. It took months before I could walk without a limp, and now, ten years later, I still feel the after-effects of that day.
Thank God I was wearing a seat belt. And that seat belt worked hard: I had bruising from my left shoulder to my right hip, and from my right hip across to my left hip.
People like to say, “Oh, we didn’t sit in car seats, and we turned out all right.” But you know, the ones who didn’t turn out all right aren’t here to tell us this:
Car accidents are deadly. It doesn’t always have to do with you being a good driver. It doesn’t matter how far from home you are. It only takes a second to change your life forever.
I am picky about car seats. Seeing a child in an unsafe car seat, or in no car seat, gives me the cold sweats. And this is why.
This week, I’m doing a series on car seat safety. Be sure to enter my giveaway for a Graco My Ride 65 Convertible Car Seat! And come back every day this week for more of my series.