Crash Lessons


Post-accident picture of the car the writer was in. PHOTO // AMY REMELY

Matthew Kodrowski, Opinions Editor

I was on a trip with my roommate to Ellijay for the Apple Festival. On the way, we stop because a driver in front of us is making a left turn on a two-lane road. I remember texting my friend when all of sudden I feel the heart-stopping “BOOM” of an SUV plowing into our back bumper. I remember everything going blank for a quick second. I feel my glasses and ball cap fly off as my head snaps back into the headrest of the passenger seat. When I finally realize what had just happened, my roommate and I are on the side of the road facing the opposite direction.

We step out and see shrapnel across the entire road. The vehicle that hit us had to be pushed off the road. Both cars were totaled. It was unlike any experience I’ve had. It was the first major collision I had ever been in.

The cars are towed, our friends pick us up and we all go to the towing company to retrieve my roommate’s belongings from what is left of his sedan. I sat in the back seat on the phone, bringing my family up to date. I decided to have my friends drop me off at the ER to get my upper neck checked out. The doctors confirm I have whiplash, but no fractures.

Throughout the ordeal, I think to myself about what has happened and am thankful knowing what it could’ve been. Sitting in the ER reflecting, I learned valuable lessons. These are three crash lessons that I feel need to be shared.

First, you find who your real friends are in times of crisis. The friends I had picked up my roommate and me from the site, and countless others were with us throughout the next 24 hours bringing food, hugs, prayer, encouragement and love. I could not have been more thankful for their support. When a crisis comes out of nowhere, they will show how well you’ve chosen the people closest to you. Be wise with who your best friends are.

Second, find the silver lining. I remember before we left for Elijay, we asked our friends if they wanted to come with us. They declined our offer. Had they agreed to come with us, there would’ve been a chance that they could’ve been pinched between the damage to the back and side door. I don’t know what I would’ve done had they been severely injured, or worse, because they were in that backseat. I thank God that they decided not to come with us. I also thank God that the crash did not push us into the car in front of us. I am thankful to be alive. I am thankful I only sustained whiplash rather than a neck fracture. Finding the silver lining allows you to see good even in the worst of times. It gives you a positive perspective that pushes you through the hardship.

Third, take nothing for granted. My roommate and I were very fortunate to walk away from the crash. If one thing goes differently, it is a possible difference between life and death. Treasure the time you have with your family and friends. Be glad you have the opportunity to receive an education. Be thankful that you can walk, run, jump, see and breathe. Life is a mist and the reality is, you don’t know when your time is up. Be thankful you are blessed with today.

Currently, I am fully recovered from the whiplash. I am now able to once again live my life doing what I love. I can climb, drive, turn my head and work again. I couldn’t be more thankful for these crash lessons that I have not only gotten to learn but to share with others.