A Public Service Announcement


On April 7, 2011 at about 8:35 in the morning, I was involved in a horrific accident as I headed to work.  I was eastbound on Three Rivers Road in Palmer headed toward Boston Road in Wilbraham.  Three Rivers Road traverses several hills, and sections of it are very steep and winding.  I was ascending a sharp uphill curve when a white sedan suddenly merged with my engine compartment.  The occupant of the other vehicle was texting and didn’t notice that she needed to make a sharp right turn.  She crossed the double yellow line and impacted my car at an estimated 50 miles per hour.  The posted limit is 30.  She was also not wearing a seat belt and her face bounced off of her windshield, causing her to shed most of her teeth.

As for me, when the realization hit that there had been a collision, I immediately started doing body inventory.  Everything worked and nothing hurt too bad yet.  There were some cuts on my wrist and I had to pull one of my house keys out of the flesh of my thigh, but otherwise nothing major seemed to be wrong.  The driver door was folded in half and wasn’t going to move.  I managed to slide out of the dash console that had wrapped around me and crawled out the rear passenger side door.  A Palmer cop tired to get a statement out of me, but I could not get the words out of my mouth.  Despite the gashes and a probably concussion, I refused transport to the hospital.  It probably wasn’t the wisest of moves, but I just wanted to go home.

It wasn’t until a couple of days later that I saw the remains of my car at the tow lot.  In the aftermath of the accident, my head was swimming and I either didn’t take the time to look at my car or the image failed to imprint on my brain.  What I saw (and photographed) was mind-blowing.  If I had seen that kind of carnage in another accident, I would have assumed the occupant was dead or in intensive care.  I don’t believe in God, so there was no sense that something had saved me that day.  I was faced with the fact that I was extremely lucky.  If a few variables had been slightly different, I might be in a box underground or severely injured and facing a long road to recovery.  I’d been in accidents before, but never was left with the feeling that death had been looked in the face and turned away.

The longer I stood looking at the remains of my car, the more disturbed I got.  All of this had happened because the other driver didn’t take her responsibilities behind the wheel seriously.  She was speeding down a dangerous road while staring at her phone.  Initially I was very angry, but after a while I started to feel bad for her.  She seemed young and probably had a lot of surgery ahead of her to reconstruct her jaws and teeth.  It’s unfortunate she had to experience extreme trauma to learn that texting and driving are something you should never do.  Nothing you can say in a text is important enough to put your life and the lives of others in danger.  To risk serious injury or death for a “LOL” or “b rite there” is utterly asinine.  If you are someone who repeatedly and willingly engages in distracted driving, I implore you to reconsider your flippant disregard for those sharing the road with you.  It’s simply not worth the risk to fiddle with your phone while driving.

~ by schlippo on April 7, 2014.

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