The Mundling Zone

Thoughts, rants, and raves from the desk of Michelle Mundling

Friday, January 25, 2008

Wear Your Seatbelts!

I was in an auto accident this morning on my way to work. It is only by the grace of God, wearing my seatbelt, and having an airbag that I was able to walk away with only bruises. My truck is totalled.

I was about to go through an intersection, and I had the green light. To my right, a guy in another truck didn't see his red light and drove out in front of me. There was no way I could stop in time. I slammed into where the fender meets the driver-side door. I could see the hood of my truck crumple from the impact. I felt pain on the right side of my chest and a couple of toes on the left foot. I could hear my truck's horn go off. The airbag deployed so quickly that it was deflated before I realized it went off.

The impact caused his truck and my truck to deflect at 45-degree angles. My truck continued to move forward toward the tall steel American Eyeglass Center sign across the highway, hitting the metal post head on. Fully conscious, I noticed the fumes from the airbag floating around inside the cab of my truck. Remember what my sister said about respiratory irritation from the fumes, I made a conscious effort to breathe as little as possible.

My first thought was to get out of the truck. I pulled my door handle, and the door moved just slightly. The fender was bent into the door track, making it hard to open the door. With all my strength, I managed to push the door wide enough for me to slide out of the cab.

I tentatively stepped onto the grass and surveyed my surroundings. I was alive. I wasn't crippled. I was aware of my surroundings. Surveying the truck, I realized just how hard of a double-impact I took.

People who had seen what had happened to me came by to ask me if I was okay. My right breast was really sore, and two toes on my right foot were throbbing and painful to the touch ... but I was otherwise okay. I discovered later that I banged up my right knee (yes, the bad knee) as it is now swollen and painful to the touch. I'm unable to wear nothing but a flip flop on the right foot. I have a 10:30am appointment with my doctor for a check up.

The guy who pulled out in front of me? He wasn't wearing a seatbelt. When I hit him, his truck deflected 45 degrees to the right into the center lane of the road I was driving on. The impact propelled him out of his seat and out of his truck through the passenger-side door. When I first saw him sitting on the hard, cold asphalt, I thought he was just sitting down getting his bearings straight. I had no idea at the time that's where he landed.

The police came to talk to us and investigate the accident. The other driver readily admitted he ran the red light and drove out in front of me. The poor guy could not stop apologizing to me. My heart went out to him, and I gave him a hug. One of the officers was very surprised by my actions and commented that he witnessed a Kodak moment because that's just something he doesn't see everyday. Yes, he was charged with running a stop light. It was his first accident, and I really feel bad for him. It's bad enough to be in an automobile accident, but to carry the burden of knowing you caused it? Now, if he had been a jerk, my attitude toward him would have been a different story. He wasn't a jerk, he was a nice guy who made a mistake and didn't mean to make the mistake. He was remorseful and apologetic. Because he didn't wear his seatbelt, I have a feeling he's going to physically feel a whole lot worse than I will.

Please everybody ... I'm living proof that seatbelts save lives and greatly diminish injury. He wasn't wearing a seatbelt, and look what happened to him. A lot of good that airbag is going to do you if you're hit from the side.

I thank almighty God for having mercy on me, because this situation could have easily been worse.

Pictures coming soon ...