Source: Anne Heart at SavannahNow.com
The life of 21-year-old Brandy Williams changed in an instant when she made the poor decision of participating in a text conversation while driving down a country road in Vidalia, GA. A year ago this month, Brandy lost her leg and suffered a stroke after the car she was driving veered off the road and into a tree. She was ejected through the sunroof and thrown 30 feet into a wooded area where she stayed for two hours until being discovered by a passing motorist who called 911. Brandy’s leg was found nearly 30 feet away.
Had Brandy fully understood the dangers of texting and driving, perhaps her life threatening injuries could have been avoided. She remarks, “Everyone texts and drives, but it could cost you your life or someone else’s.” The phrase “Everyone texts and drives” is quite unnerving, because it appears that this way of thinking has become socially acceptable and normal within out society. What it means is that people know the inherent dangers of distracted driving, but choose to ignore them because they view themselves as “responsible” when they drive. In other words, people often falsely believe they are invincible until they’re actually faced with their own mortality. Had Brandy been more aware of the danger in which she was putting herself, perhaps she would have been more reluctant to use her phone while driving.
While her period of recovery has taken a toll on her physically and emotionally, Brandy’s hope is that by sharing her story, it will help others see that texting and driving is as dangerous as drinking and driving. Her recovery period is still an ongoing process and has included speech therapy and full-time physical therapy. Almost a year later, she is able talk, walk – with the help of a cane – and drive on her own; though her cell phone rides in the backseat from now on. Before her accident, she was studying to be a nurse, and plans on returning to her nursing program once all of her therapy is complete. Upon completing her speech therapy, Brandy aims to talk to groups about the very real dangers of texting while driving.
According to a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. To put it in perspective, that’s the equivalent, at 55 mph, of driving the length of a football field blind. Texting and driving is a very real danger not only for those texting, but for unsuspecting motorists who are being responsible as well.
Don’t be another statistic of distracted driving.
Be informed. Be aware. Be prepared.