On October 18, 2015 I was in a rollover accident. I was driving along at 50mph when I hit black ice and suddenly lost control of my vehicle. I was in the oncoming lane of traffic and had a car coming directly towards the driver side. In a panic, I turned the wheel, causing my truck to roll a total of six times. My seatbelt had broken off of me, and my airbags did not deploy. When I finally came to a stop, I was on the roof of the vehicle planking with with two elbows to try and hold myself up. My hand was full of glass. I remained in the vehicle for about 30 min while a man called 911 and we waited for an ambulance. The paramedics had to perform a vehicle extrication by shattering the back window to remove me from the vehicle. Once removed from the vehicle I stood on two feet and started crying and laughing. The paramedics looked at me in confusion as to why I was laughing. I was laughing because in those few moments when my vehicle was rolling, I truly believed these were my last moments of life. I can still hear the glass shattering, the tires popping, and the metal crunching around me. There is not a day that goes by where I don’t think about that day. It has made a huge impact on my life and has given me a new perspective. I was laughing because I was so thankful to be alive. I am so thankful to have walked away from that accident with minor injuries, and I have decided to use this experience as a lesson to others. This accident has inspired my platform “C.O.A.S.T.” Concentration, Observation, Anticipation, Space, and Time.
- Concentration – even the smallest lapse in concentration could mean you go through a red light, drive into another vehicle or even hit a cyclist or pedestrian. Don’t be distracted by your mobile phone, the radio or anything else in the car, either.
- Observation – pay close attention to what is going on around you. Use your mirrors regularly, and make sure you observe all speed limits as maximums. Observe what people in other lanes are doing and indicate your intention if you are going to perform any maneuvers.
- Anticipation – we cannot always anticipate what other people are going to do. However, it can help reduce the chances of an accident. Junctions can be particularly challenging. For example, 75% of accidents involve a vehicle and a bicycle. Allow cyclists more room and be aware of sudden movements you may not have been expecting.
- Space – Give all road users more room, NO TAILGATING! This allows you more time to take evasive action to avoid an accident if need be.
- Time – Allow more time to brake and stop in wet weather, and more still in ice and snow. Allow plenty of time to pull out at junctions and at roundabouts, and don’t risk a collision by trying to get ahead when a few extra seconds can keep everyone much safer. This also touches on following the speed limit, its better to arrive late and safe, to never arrive at all.
Following these basic steps could safe a life. Please drive with caution, and avoid distractions when on the roads. If you have been drinking or someone you know has been drinking and are thinking about driving, please think twice, call a cab and don’t risk putting your life and others in danger.
-Miss Alaska American Coronet 2020