The $5 Item I Really Needed When My Car Flipped
I was on my way to work, to interview someone for a position. The interview was scheduled for 10a about three miles from my home. Everything was going normal. Pull out of the driveway going left. Drive straight for about 2 1/2 miles. Get caught at the light to make the next left with a few cars in front of me. I put my lip gloss on while I waited.
And then I’m not sure what happened. All of the sudden, I was hanging from the seatbelt because my SUV had flipped and landed on the passenger side.
Confusion for a few moments and then panic started to dig its claws in but I chased it away. I never panic in the moment. I may have a nervous breakdown after the ‘big awful thing’ is over, but while it’s happening, I stay calm and collected. It’s been that way since I was a child. I am thankful for that.
I looked around. The side curtain airbag had deployed on both sides of the car. The passenger side window was shattered against the pavement and there was glass everywhere. The mirror on the side of the car was folded in. All my stuff that was in the car was scattered around the passenger side, including my phone.
The car system said it kept trying to alert 911 but couldn’t because my phone wasn’t hooked up via bluetooth. I hated to make or take calls over the car speaker so I never connected it. I will go forward.
I gripped the steering wheel as tight as I could which in turn made the horn go off a few times. I held on for dear life and managed to unbuckle my seatbelt. I tried to hold on to let myself down gently but I couldn’t. I let myself drop to the passenger side window that was against the pavement. Somehow my back ended up against the shattered glass. I am grateful that I had put a fleece jacket over my work shirt before leaving the house.
A woman who saw the crash knocked on the windshield to ask if I was ok. I thought about it for a heartbeat and then told her yes. My neck and back hurt and I had a headache but that was it. She tried to break the windshield so that I could get out but it wouldn’t break. I smelled a weird smell. it was kind of smokey. My guy would tell me later that the smell was probably from the side airbags deploying. That makes sense now.
That was enough to snap me out of it. I realized that I needed to get out of the car. Rational or not, I was scared of the car catching on fire and being trapped.
I stood up and tried to open the driver’s side door. No luck, it wouldn’t budge. Seems like it was jammed.
Next, I grabbed my phone and climbed into the back seat. I was hoping the back door would open. I unlocked it and pushed as hard as I could. I didn’t realize how heavy car doors were. I only opened it about three inches before my arms gave out.
I shook it off and decided to try again. I pushed with everything I had and managed to get it open about four inches. I locked in my arms so at least I would get some fresh air. That smell was overwhelming.
From outside, I heard someone say “Wait, let me push against the car so it doesn’t roll over onto the roof.” and all of a sudden, a man was on top of the car helping me open the door.
I didn’t get his name or anything like that but I will always be grateful that he decided to help when he was just walking by.
I climbed up and jumped down to the pavement. I was safe and now I could have hysterics… and I did.
What if the back door had been jammed shut also? I would have been completely trapped. What if the car had caught on fire? I could have died.
I didn’t transfer one really important thing from my old car to this car: an emergency escape tool. They are literally $5 on Amazon. I just ordered another one. Everyone needs to have one of these in their car. It has a recessed blade that cuts through a seat belt if it is jammed and a steel hammer tip that will shatter a car window if needed. Simple. For $5.