If I could only remember…

Stephanie - Cheyney, Pennsylvania
Entered on September 24, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
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Nobody ever wakes up in the morning and says, “I’m going to get in a car accident today,” and then decides to put on their seatbelt, as if it’s just another half-hour time slot on their agenda for the day. Car accidents are unpredictable and sudden.

Three years ago I decided to hang out with my friend Dan, who I had never hung out with before outside of school. It was 11:00pm and we were heading into Philly from West Chester. I remember getting in the car, attempting to put the seatbelt on but something was wrong with it, it didn’t work. I didn’t think twice about not wearing it, after all, I had never been in an accident before so it hadn’t even crossed my mind. I wish I wasn’t so careless that night. I remember leaving the parking lot where Dan picked me up. Next think I knew, I was in a CAT scan at The University of Pennsylvania Hospital.

Police predicted that Dan was going 85mph going down West Chester Pike when we hit a dead deer on the road. We hit a parked van, which sent us spinning. Because I hadn’t thought twice about refusing to get in without a seatbelt, I flew up over the airbag, broke the windshield with my head, then my head also smashed my passenger window to pieces. When we started spinning, because I didn’t have a seatbelt on (neither did Dan), we both went flying out onto West Chester Pike at about 11:15 at night. Something went through my knee cap, I tore something in my elbow, broke an orbital bone, had road-rash all over me, and also had stitches on my head, along with a severe concussion. I was the lucky one; Dan had to have his head stapled shut. I don’t remember minutes leading up to it, I don’t remember the crash, or even being sent to The University of Pennsylvania Hospital in a helicopter.

I won’t sit here and give stats on how many fatal accidents there are in a year when people aren’t wearing seatbelts, because so many factors go into those. Everybody has heard stories though. I was extremely lucky that I did not die that night. A lot of people aren’t so lucky. I have two friends who were driving the other way on West Chester Pike that night and saw the accident; those two friends told me that they thought whoever was in that car was dead. Hearing that really opened my eyes to how precious life is, and how we can’t take anything for granted.

My question is, if taking two seconds out of your day to help protect something so precious, why not do it? Buckling up, sure it can be uncomfortable sometimes, but so can a broken leg, or arm, or ribs if your in an accident without a seatbelt. Seatbelts are proven to greatly improve your chances of not getting hurt in an accident.

I make sure that I wear my seatbelt now because chances are, I wouldn’t be so lucky next time. It’s your money, your life, your seatbelt.