Near Death by Texting

About four years ago, my wife and I were sitting at home during the weekend when her cell phone rang at a little past 11:00 pm. “What’s wrong, honey!?” my wife answered, her voice sounding concerned and I immediately knew it was our sixteen-year-old daughter. I could hear her crying and thought she’s having boy trouble again. “Sweetie, calm down! Where are you?!” Okay, that put an edge on it.

“Have you called an ambulance? Okay, stay where you are! We’ll be right there!” Now I felt sick and my wife jumped up from the couch, “Our daughter has wrecked her car.” I began to worry about how badly she was hurt as we grabbed wallets and keys and headed for our car. Fortunately, her accident site was less than two miles away and she had been okay enough to call us. She had been driving this used car for about nine months.

The phone call may have been bad but arriving on an accident scene and seeing your child’s vehicle lying on its side about 30 feet from the road is something else. Add to that the presence of an ambulance and your daughter and her girlfriend being put onto stretchers and your blood pressure kicks up a notch.

We both went to her and found out she and her friend were scratched and bruised but otherwise seemed okay. However, they were taking them to the local hospital to check for internal injuries. While she was being secured on the stretcher and then loaded into the ambulance, I walked over to her car which sat on the other side of railroad tracks that ran parallel to the road. Broken glass was everywhere from where multiple windows had been broken out (including the driver side window). Bits of plastic and CD’s littered the scene. I felt sick. Whatever happened here it had been violent.

After a brief stay at the hospital both our daughter and her friend were released to go home having sustained only minor cuts and bruises. We were so relieved and thankful at the obvious miracle that had occurred. What we found out later was chilling and to this day remains a bit of a mystery.

That night our daughter had been sleeping over at her best friend’s home when they received an invitation to come over to another girl’s house and spend the night. Excitedly, they had both grabbed their stuff and jumped into our daughter’s car, a VW Beetle, and headed over to the third girl’s home which was less than two miles away. All this was occurring on quiet streets in a small town.

While driving to the other girl's house, my daughter received and replied to multiple TEXT MESSAGES! She was rounding a gentle turn, probably going too fast and dipped a tire off the edge of the road. Being a somewhat inexperienced driver, she overcorrected in trying to get back on the road going too far to the other side and immediately jerked the wheel back, at this point probably leaving the road altogether.

When we arrived at the accident scene, her car was lying on the passenger side, facing opposite to the direction she had been traveling. According to our daughter, somehow the vehicle had rolled over at least once and the driver side window was broken out because she had not been wearing a seatbelt and had been ejected. She said she remembers flying through the air thinking that God was punishing her for not wearing a seatbelt. Her friend had been wearing a seat belt and remained in the car. Her post accident description included the detail that she had been knocked out and came to on her knees about twenty feet behind the car. The mystery is what type of gyrations did her car go through in order to end up where it did? The other mystery was how did our daughter end up where she did and not crushed by the automobile?

The next morning (a Saturday), I awoke from a fitful sleep, threw on some clothes and ran up the stairs. There she was—alive and still laying on the living room couch where she had chosen to sleep that night. I had to touch her arm to see that I was not imagining her being there. Given the nature of the accident, she should be dead. Our daughter broke some many of our rules that night, paid the price and was punished accordingly. Maybe in another five or six years we will let her have her keys back.

Okay it's not quite that bad – With the exception of backing into a concrete support in a parking garage, four years later our little girl has managed to avoid another accident. She assures us she refrains from texting and almost all cell phone calling while driving (take it for what it's worth). She attends college about two hours from where we live and as we whisper a prayer each time she has to make the journey, she manages to do so safely. By the way, getting one phone call like the one we received that night puts a slight edge on all other phone calls you receive–especially the ones that come in late at night. What's even worse is that we now also have two teenage sons that are driving. Gray hairs abound!

So what can you take from this? If you have a child that is an inexperienced driver and you suspect they are texting or talking on the phone while driving, let them read this. Have them look at the pictures of our daughter’s mangled car which was a total loss. Maybe it will scare them bad enough that they will refrain from using a cell phone while driving until they have a year or two of driving under their belt. Set some firm rules and stick to them with the goal of eliminating as many teenage distractions as possible: no passengers, no music, no late night driving (i.e., have a curfew), etc. Yeah, I know--near impossible to enforce all of these but the more you can eliminate the better. Also, if you are going to ask them to do things like refraining from talking and texting on a cell phone while driving and obeying the speed limit, it means you need to do so as well. Oh, and hug them every day.

One final note: Our daughter suffers from back pain caused by the injury that required physical therapy. While not chronic, it does flare up every now and then--a little reminder of the night she chose to drive her way.

I will conclude with the suggestion of a great article on parents and teen driving: http://www.usatoday.com/money/autos/2009-09-24-safer-driving-teens_N.htm

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Comments 21 comments

cegainesjr profile image

cegainesjr 6 years ago from No Mans Land

EBR-

That's one banged-up beetle! We're both lucky to be alive after riding with "Joey" - good hub and riveting story, I remember the event well. Keep writin'!

CEGjr


skye2day profile image

skye2day 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains

Oh My I wish every driver that texts saw this. I have been guilty and through the Grace of God no accident. I have 3 grown daughters. My baby now 20. We have had an accident or two or three maybe oh yes. 2 each. In 'his' name, all is OK. Your daughter looked as if she had the angels holding her and her friends. Who can not believe in Christ after hearing a miracle story is lost indeed. I wrote a hub Angels to the rescue. A woman ran a stop sigh moving right along. You may enjoy it. It was one of my first few hubs. Thank you. Fantastic writing. Blessings Hugs


Bryan Robertson profile image

Bryan Robertson 6 years ago from Tennessee, United States Author

Thanks for your comments, skye2day. I am fortunate that my daughter is still with us after this. The memories of that night are still crystal clear in my memory.


Kerry43 6 years ago

I gave my parents this nightmare many years ago. Although there were no cell phones involved and we were on a straight road, my driver had been drinking, the car rolled, and I was thrown out, with the car landing on my leg.

I am glad your daughter is OK, the images of the car ought to shock many people into leaving their darn phones where they belong.... on the other seat and out of reach.

Thanks, I'm sending this to my own kids now.

Kez


Bryan Robertson profile image

Bryan Robertson 6 years ago from Tennessee, United States Author

Hi, Kerry43 - I have two teenage sons that (so it appears so far) were touched by my daughter's accident (she is oldest) and both appear to be taking their driving privileges very seriously. It's all about distractions! Hope this helps you teach your kids to be safe drivers.


Grills Guy profile image

Grills Guy 6 years ago from Santa Cruz

Great hub and story. There is definitely a moral to be learned by this. Texting is way more dangerous than talking!


Bryan Robertson profile image

Bryan Robertson 6 years ago from Tennessee, United States Author

Thanks, Grills Guy - I still get chills thinking about this night.


Lita C. Malicdem profile image

Lita C. Malicdem 5 years ago from Philippines

Accidents happen when you least expect them, but we can prepare for the coming if we are cautious. Children driving must be monitored tightly, driving rules be institutionalized in them, this includes not texting while driving. Good to know your daughter came out mildly scathed.

Our old Land Cruiser sits peacefully in my garage, with plate temporarily returned for safekeeping at the LTO office, it bugged down with my nephew driving it. I refuse to accede to my 2 daughters' request to bring it to office in a far away city. I'm just being careful no accidents ever happen. Parents must read this story. Good job!


Bryan Robertson profile image

Bryan Robertson 5 years ago from Tennessee, United States Author

Thanks, Lita - I agree with your comments. Parents have to be willing to set up, teach and enforce rules on younger drivers. Not an easy thing to do sometimes.


icet5564 5 years ago

I just read your story and it brought back LOTS of memories of this past spring...... My step-daughter "borrowed" (without asking) my extremely fast 2000 VW turbo Beetle, drove to the convenience store to "get something to drink", drove two miles outside of town (where she wasn't supposed to be), texting as she was driving WAY too fast, dropped a wheel off the road, hit a driveway colvert (drain), flipped/rolled the car 3 TIMES, wasn't wearing a seatbelt either but stayed, only by the grace of GOD, inside the car, AND took a trip to the hospital but only had a few bruises and back pain (still) once in a while. She lived, the Beetle didn't, but it did protect her. It looks just like your beetle! You have to wonder why, sometimes, God protects some but takes others, young and old alike, with less violence and damage??? I thank him, for our little girl......even though she can be Soooooooooo stupid at times!!! Good luck with your other kids.....she is our last one at home. Thank you God!! (LOL)


Bryan Robertson profile image

Bryan Robertson 5 years ago from Tennessee, United States Author

Hey, icet5564 - Sounds like your story is VERY similar to ours and both have happy endings. Our daughter (22 in about 3 days) still has back pain too but is a better driver than before (Although I think her guardian angel is working overtime! lol). My youngest son (about to turn 18 at this writing) was really affected by her accident. He appears to be a more cautious driver but there have been times I have seen him drive too fast (Didn't we all at that age?). He has had one fender bender so far in almost two years driving. HOWEVER, as I said in the hub, a ringing phone at night gets your blood pressure up just a tic. :)


Healing Touch profile image

Healing Touch 5 years ago from Minnetonka, MN

Bryan,

This is a great hub. I vote up, awesome, and I will be sharing it virally. I think this will help us teach our young that to drive is a privilige.


Bryan Robertson profile image

Bryan Robertson 5 years ago from Tennessee, United States Author

Thanks, Healing Touch! What is it they say about experience? It's what we get right after we need it? Too bad we can't bottle it and give to younger drivers...


princess g profile image

princess g 5 years ago

that's so dangerous.I'm glad she's ok now


Bryan Robertson profile image

Bryan Robertson 5 years ago from Tennessee, United States Author

Thank you, princess g - She still drives a little too fast but for the most part is a much more mature driver. I think the accident not only had a sobering effect on her but her two younger brothers who are both driving now.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 5 years ago from South Carolina

Great hub with a life and death message- don't text while driving. So glad your daughter and her friend came out of the crash relatively unscathed.

My state (Delaware) has a new no texting law which goes into effect 1/1/11.

Thanks for sharing this vivid story.


Bryan Robertson profile image

Bryan Robertson 5 years ago from Tennessee, United States Author

Thanks for the comments, Happyboomernurse! I believe our state (TN) has one now for no texting while driving but you know how kids (and adults) will be about paying attention to rules. :)


alphagirl profile image

alphagirl 5 years ago from USA

Wow! I have a daughter who will taking driving classes in two years. OMG! I am happy your daughter did not lose her life. I want to tell you having been in minor accidents and being hit from the rear, that an acupuncturist may be able to help with the inflammation.

An orthopedic surgeon can't fix the tendons and nerves. My read accident happened in my 20's, ok now I too suffer from what happened. Good luck! Liked this hub a lot.


Bryan Robertson profile image

Bryan Robertson 5 years ago from Tennessee, United States Author

Hi, alphagirl - Thanks for the comments and the tip. I will pass it along to my daughter! I have a good friend that uses an acupuncturist for various afflictions and swears by him.


Aceblogs profile image

Aceblogs 4 years ago from India

Oooo thats a beetle ! Well i am glad that your daughter is still safe and good :) God bless you and your family .

Well as far as the hub goes , i believe experienced or inexperienced , kids or elder people , driving and text messaging should not be mixed , infact mobile should not be used at all when you are driving as it diverts your concentration and can result in a Big mishap


Bryan Robertson profile image

Bryan Robertson 4 years ago from Tennessee, United States Author

Thanks for your comments, Aceblogs! My daughter just had her 23rd birthday this year and my thoughts wander back to that chilling night every now and then. I absolutely agree with your comments about texting and driving for people of any age. We have enough on our minds already...

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