|text by: Kathryne Ogrod, translated by: Elsa Zhang
I had been friends with Darlene for three years when we decided to live together one summer. She did not own a car and she was rarely able to visit her grandparents who lived far away. One day, we both decided to take a road trip to her grandparent’s house. We had fun talking and playing cards together while enjoying good homemade food – a luxury when you are in college. When we had to go back, I told Darlene to drive because she knew the way back better than I. We still ended up getting lost……
On a long gravelly road we finally decided to turn around and go the long way back to the highway. Darlene was upset that she had lost her way and she tried to make up for it by driving fast. She did not realize it but on gravel, it is easy for a car to lose traction. The car started to slide around on the road. Darlene got scared and stomped on the brake. The car locked up. Darlene had lost control. The car flipped. I remember praying everything would be ok.
The car had hit a mail box and then a ditch before it flipped on its side. Luckily for us, the wheels had gotten stuck in the mud and we rolled back right side up. After the accident, there was about 5- 10 seconds of pure silence. It wasn’t even possible to think at that moment due to the shock of what had just happened. I looked at my friend and the first words out of my mouth were, “Are you ok!?!”
We were both trained since the time we were kids to ALWAYS wear our seat belts. To this day, I know several people who refuse to wear seat belts because they think it isn’t “cool.” I am alive today because I wore my seat belt and I think that is pretty darn cool.
The one question people ask me when they hear this story is, “Weren’t you mad at your friend for wrecking your car?” No, it was an accident and in life many accidents will occur. I am so happy that we were both able to walk away from that accident. She hit her knee really hard in that crash and although nothing was broken, she still has pain in it to this day. I still have bad back aches and I will have to live with that pain for the rest of my life. At least I have the rest of my life to experience.
I cringe every time I see someone get into a car without putting on their seat belt. I hear excuses like: seat belts are useless, they don’t look cool, or I will put it on if I think something is going to happen. You never know when an accident will happen. That is why it is called an accident. Cars can be very dangerous; even if you do everything right and you are the safest driver in the world, it doesn’t matter. Someone else can step into the street at the wrong time or another driver may make a mistake that will cost you your life. Life is so precious; it should be valued and protected everyday with a seat belt.