I am sure that many of you have heard that I was in a car accident earlier this winter in January. The reason I am writing this blog is to make people aware that driving safe is sooooo important. So please, hear me out.
January 8th, 2017 started off like any other normal day. My roommate, and wonderful friend, Haley and I were saying goodbye to our parents as we were getting ready to head back to UND. We packed all of our stuff into Marley, and started our long 5 hour trip back to school. The drive seemed pretty normal, Haley and I were just talking, listening to some relaxing Jack Johnson music, and having a good time. About half way through the drive, it was anything but normal. As I was passing a bright red pick up truck, I hit a patch of black ice. I felt myself lose control of the car, and it felt like we were slipping on butter. Before I knew it, all I could see was a blank sheet of white. All I could hear, was the car metal falling apart. All I could feel, was Marley closing in on us. Even though I could hear the crashes, I remember it being eerily silent. What felt like forever, was only a few seconds until we were upright, with ice cold snow up to our ribs, and being more confused than ever. That was when I realized what had happened. I had rolled my car in the ditch going 74 miles per hour. The very first thing I did, was to make sure that Haley was okay. We couldn't even cry we were so shocked at what happened. I was looking at my car, seeing the sunroof broken, the wipers were on, snow everywhere, and Jack Johnson was still singing. It seemed like he was telling us to relax. Shortly after, Haley and I found ourselves screaming for help. I was so angry that cars were just driving by us and not seeming to care that there were two 19 year olds trapped in a car with no working phones to call for help. All I wanted in that moment was to wake up from this nightmare, and to see my parents sitting there saying, "it was just a bad dream, Maddie". Unfortunately, my nightmare was not just in my head, it was real.
I begun to dig through the snow in my car and look for my phone to try and get some help. All of a sudden, a state trooper was at my window asking if Haley and I were okay. I have never been so relieved seeing someone. Once I said we were okay, he asked us to try and get out. Haley's door was lodged, so we had to climb out of mine. I was surprisedI still had the strength to push open my door in the snow. As the state trooper started to pull me away from my car, I found my glasses in the snow. It was so weird walking away from my car, seeing it the way it was. I wasn't even able to grab my keys with the Fighting Sioux lanyard. After wrapping my head around what was happening, I realized another man came to help us. He was about to put Haley and I in separate vehicles and I was like hell no, I am not leaving Haley. Finally, we were put into the back of the trooper's car, squished together, cold and shaking. I remember looking at Haley's face and seeing the mascara running down face from crying. I remember holding her hand as hard as I could, to make sure that she knew that I was never going to leave her. I kept saying I was sorry to her over and over, and she kept telling me that it wasn't my fault. Of course in that moment, I could only think that it was my fault.
After waiting for about 30 minutes in the back of the trooper's car, uncomfortable and scared, an ambulance finally came to take Haley and I to the hospital. The funny thing is, we were waiting for the ambulance at the exit we take to our cabin. It made me think, I was this close to my second home, and my friends nearby, and they had no idea what was going on. Also, I couldn't stop thinking about my parents, and how they didn't have a clue. They still thought that we were driving. It was so frustrating that no one was giving us a phone to call the most important people in our lives, and tell them what happened. Although, the medics in the ambulance were extremely kind, and tried to make us as comfortable as possible. They gave us bandages for our cuts, and had the heat on nice and warm so we could thaw. I remember the male medic said that we probably wished that we had a teddy bear to cuddle. I nodded my head, as I was still pretty speechless. Then, he gave us soft, white teddy bears with red scarves to keep us company.
Once we finally reached the hospital, I have never been so relieved to be in a building again. Unfortunately, the nurses separated Haley and I in different rooms. And I can tell you now, that it was honestly the worst thing ever, sitting in that hospital bed alone. My nurse wasn't in my room a lot, so I didn't have anyone to talk to. I kept crying and shivering because I was so cold and in shock. I kept thinking, why isn't anyone comforting me? Finally, the nurse gave me a phone to call my parents. Once I heard my dad's voice, I burst into tears. I told him about the accident, and at first, he didn't believe me. When I told him where I was, he didn't even have to think, and he said "I am not going to work. I am coming to get you". After talking to him, I was alone again. But then, like an angel, an older nurse came in looking for my nurse. Then she came up to me, and said the first kind words I heard since the crash. She asked if I was okay and if I wanted a warm blanket because she saw how much I was shaking. She came back, covered me in the blanket, took off my wet shoes and jacket, and gave me a hug and said, "everything is going to be okay sweetie". I never even knew her name, and yet I will never forget her. After being stitched up, I called my boyfriend Jay, because I knew he would be worried about me. He told me that he was going to come to me, and I told him no way because the roads were so bad. He listened, and would just have to wait until I got back.
After an eternity, my nurse finally came back and said that I could go to Haley's room now. As soon as I walked in, I gave Haley a huge hug. She had a splint around her middle finger, because she had broken it, and had to get 9 stitches. Even though the pain was annoying, Haley and I will be forever thankful that we walked away from that crash with only some stitches and bruises. Once we got let out of our rooms, we had to wait in the waiting room for my parents to come get us. Haley's phone was working, so she was able to contact her family. My phone was still buried in my car somewhere, but that was the least of my worries. When my parents finally came, the first thing I did was throw myself at them and cry. I will never forget the looks on their faces when they saw me. It has only been rare moments where I have seen my parents cry, and this was one of them. I swear that my mom was never going to let me go.
Rolling my car has changed my life forever. Knowing I could've died in that accident, makes me not take my life for granted. If we weren't wearing out seat belts, Haley and I could've been killed. Just know, that I wasn't texting, wasn't distracted by any means. My accident was an act of God, and I for sure got His message. Just because I wasn't doing any distracted driving, doesn't give anyone the excuse to pick up their phone while they are behind the wheel. DO NOT DO IT. It's not that hard people. I despise seeing people in cars use their phones plain as day while driving. I hope that you guys aren't one of those. Take my story as a lesson, to make you more aware to safe driving. Follow speed limits, wear your seat belts, and don't use your phone. So many simple things that can save your life. Drive slower when roads are icy and it's snowing. Those were my conditions. Even though I was only going 4 mph over the speed limit, it still changed my life. I will never forget that dreadful day. I hope people realize that an accident will haunt your forever. It's been 4 months, and I still think about it. I still cry. I still wonder "what if". I still have a hard time talking about it, and I probably will forever. I cry in my new car because it's not Marley. I still get a little nervous on the highway, even when it is not me driving. I am scarred for life. So think the next time you want to drive over the speed limit or answer that text, because that thought could save your life.
A big thank you goes out to my car Marley. You did your job, and kept us safe. You will be missed, as will my fish Clyde who passed in the accident.
Just a girl with a journal, a pen and a camera trying to express herself to the outside.