- Car Safety & Safe Driving
Car Accident Survival Story
The car is a weapon!
Let’s think of the car as a weapon. You are in control of making sure that you take care of yourself and others, if you are not responsible then you can kill or injure yourself and/or others.
All of my life, I have been challenged with what the adults of children pose at me. All teenagers think they are invincible. “Come on”, I said. I didn’t think about being invincible like “this will never happen to me”. Let’s think about it for a moment. Truly the situation that was before me was nothing that I was thinking about. I was not being a daring individual by getting in a car with a drunk driver; I was not being stupid, or invincible. In fact, I was being cautious about getting home so that I didn’t put myself in the peer pressure of my surroundings. I simply was not aware.
The driver didn’t confess that he was drinking or that he was well over the legal limit of intoxication and I was with friends that didn’t make any inclination that he was drunk. I trusted my close friend’s judgment and didn’t use my own opinion of the circumstances. I was actually was excited that I was going to get a ride to where I left my car only a couple of miles away. I didn’t want to be in trouble for being irresponsible, because when I was a teenager there was such thing as getting a consequence for not following the boundaries or rules of the household. Not only would I get my car taken away, I would also receive a lecture, a beaten, and punished for two weeks from hanging out with friends.
As I remember, the driver backed out of the driveway, he turned on to the road. The 1986 red, Pontiac Firebird, had lots of power. Nonetheless I remember getting in the backseat of the car, and that was it. As the car proceeded down the road the driver started to speed, at the corner where the farmhouse there was a speed limit sign posted, an embankment around the corner and no guard rails. The estimated speed was tracked at 70 miles per hour with skid marks to track the speed.
Now, lets see, was I thinking that something was going to happen to us? Really, it happened so fast and only took a moment for the car to fly off the road go down an embankment and flip over several times. We were all thrown from the car, the driver and the passenger were ejected out the sunroof and I flew out the back window landing on my head with the car plummeting only inches away from me. My brain instantly filled with fluid and I was bleeding from every orifice including my eyes, ears, nose and mouth. There I lay in a puddle of blood. As my body went into shock from the trauma, it shut down and I was found in a state of comatose by the paramedics that arrived at the scene of the accident. What a mess, what a tragedy, here today, gone in an instance. Was I invincible, absolutely not!! I spent 31 days in the hospital, in which 22 days I was in a coma.
I remember being in a semi comatose state, knowing why I was in the hospital but still no knowledge of what I was left to face for the rest of my life. There were many people that supported my recovery, my family, the nurses, the doctors, my friends and random supporters that showed up in prayer.
Here I am lying in the hospital bed being prodded at, wake up, Gena; wake up…Gena, wake up… over and over again. All the tears, the prayers, the fear of the unknown, the decisions that had to be made, the scars not only on my body, but the scars left in my mind. The hope, the faith, the attitudes, the guidance.
My life is amazing as I am alive to tell my story. I have had many hard times, scary surgeries, uncertainties and permanent damage that I have to cope with for the rest of my life. I lost my vision in my left eye, have no tears, no saliva, memory loss, depth perception is affected, hearing loss, 15% brain damage. I had to learn to walk, talk, read and write all over again.
My parents were notified 4 hours after the accident occurred because the hospital staff didn’t know who I was. When they received the phone call, they were told that I was in a hospital that specialized in traumatic brain injuries and was not going to live.
Even after 26+ years, I still have procedures done to correct the losses I suffer from the trauma to my head. I am grateful to be alive, but have a strong message to share tonight. Please think before you drink! Pay attention to your surroundings and make choices to keep yourself and others safe.
Some of you do not realize the effects that it could have on your life, so I will talk about them.
The damages that bring about the circumstances of your life are what you will face if you are drinking and driving. It can cost you a lot financially with lawyer fees, highway traffic charges, court charges, motor vehicle fines, renewal of your license, vehicle costs, vehicle repairs, damages or loss of a vehicle. It may also lead to medical bills and serious health issues or a fatality.
It can affect your life as well as many other lives. Please make a promise to yourself always be aware of your surroundings and take responsibility so that you never have to experience the trauma of drinking and driving!
It is good to realize the consequences of the offense—it is a criminal offense and it is illegal. Take time to think about all the consequences you will face by not being responsible before you place a key into the ignition. I am alive to tell my story, some people do not get a second chance…think before you drink!!
My message to you today is about making choices and paying attention to your intuition. You do have choices and they are yours. Once you make that choice you have to live with it. Safety is the key when you are driving and being aware of your surroundings at all times is most important.