“I don’t have a ‘story’ about distracted driving…the point is, I don’t want to.” I’m not waiting until I’m a grieving mother, wife, daughter or sister before I try and DO something about the serious and escalating problem of distracted driving.
That’s what it says right on the front page of my D.I.A.D. ~ Drop It And Drive blog…it’s how I open my portion of one of our in-class sessions at schools. As of yesterday, my story has to change. It’s 4AM and I’m here at the computer, writing this Blog post because I can’t turn my brain off.
What I was expecting from the late afternoon incoming call was confirmation that my friend was on her way with my 8-year-old daughter after picking her up from school. What I got was her terrified 11-year-old daughter crying “We’ve been hit! We’ve been hit!”
In what felt like a lifetime, but was closer to 45 seconds, I managed to find out that my friend was on her cell phone with the police because they’d just been rear-ended while approaching an intersection. Both they and my daughter were mostly fine, but obviously terrified and in shock. They were less than 10 minutes from home.
For a mother, a parent, it’s one of the most terrifying moments in my life.
I’m not picking up my daughter myself, because of a recent fall that badly injured my right hand and I’m home with a sick 4-year-old. Not being able to respond to every natural instinct screaming at me to get to my terrified daughter as soon as possible is heartbreaking agony. I thank God that my husband happened to be having a home office day and was able to get there moments after the police arrived on scene.
The sound of my daughter sobbing in terror is not one I’ll soon forget.
After an eternity pacing the floor of my home, calling my own Mum & best friend for support and prayers; a second incoming call from my husband updated me that he was on his way with our daughter whom we’d be taking straight to emergency. There were no obvious severe injuries, but there was pain and discomfort, so the officer recommended we take her in just to be sure.
The next six hours saw us at the emergency department at BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver with our precious daughter scared and in a neck brace being x-rayed for possible broken bones in her neck and back. Their findings:
- No broken bones ~ Thank you God for prayers answered
- Undetermined soft tissue, tendon damage
- Neck brace 24/7 for at least 48 hrs
- Return within one week for x-rays with their pediatric orthopaedic surgeon
Our friend and her daughter were cared for at a local clinic and except for shock and soreness they are mostly all right; the same cannot be said for their van. While the news could certainly have been worse, it also could have been a lot better had it not been for whatever sufficiently distracted the other driver to cause them to plough into the back of my friend’s van.
As I held my terrified daughter in my arms, she quietly said “Mum, now I understand why you started Drop It And Drive.”
I did start Drop It And Drive with the goal of avoiding the very terror my family and friend experienced last night. With the daily research I do on distracted driving and the latest casualties of this avoidable epidemic; I am painfully aware of how fortunate and blessed we were that our story was merely terrifying and not tragic.