Driving Peace of Mind, with OnStar

I remember the day like it was yesterday!  It was November 22, a Wednesday.  It was about 6:45 in the morning, I had just dropped the kids at before care and I was heading into the city for a work event.  I was feeling great, I had gotten the kids off and had makeup on and wasn’t running late.  It was going to be a great day!

As I was driving, the green light in front of me had just turned yellow.  I did not have time to stop safely so continued through the intersection. The person coming the other direction making a left turn decided that they would try and beat me and make the turn. Then in a flash and slow motion all at the same time I hit them straight on.  

Immediately my air bags went off – and with such an incredible force.  As soon as they inflate they start to deflate and this horrible smoke started to fill my car that came from the air bags.  I was so disoriented, I didn’t know what to do, and couldn’t see well. 

The one thing that I did know was that at that moment I should not get out of the car.  I was in the middle of a busy intersection and cars were driving around me.  My head hurt from hitting the air bag and I started to panic.  I found my phone and dialed 911 and then hung up.  To be totally honest I am not sure why, my hands and arms were shaking and I was confused.  I remember hearing a Justin Beiber song on the radio as all of this was happening.

Then there was a knock on my window.  It was a Durham Region Transit driver. She told me to put my car into park, turn off my car and take my foot off the brake.  Yup – my foot was still slammed down on the brake from minutes before.  She opened my doors so that the smoke started to dissipate and answered my phone for me when 911 called me back, because I hung up on them.  She was so lovely and held my hand until the ambulance and police arrived.  It felt like a million years but it was actually only 8 minutes.

Once I got into the ambulance things started to make a little more sense.  I first became really concerned about the other driver as I had no idea if they were ok.  Turns out they were.  The office came and took my statement and told me that the other driver would be charged, I was a little relieved.  I hadn’t gotten a good look at my car when I walked to the ambulance and was told that it was pretty much a write off.  I was so upset. 

A quick trip to the ER found that I had a shoulder and neck strain and a concussion.  The injuries to my body were fairly easy to take care of with physio but the brain injury is more tricky.  I am happy to say that now just over 6 months later I feel myself. 🙂

Since the accident there are 2 things that I think about often.

1 – What if I wasn’t alone?   What if the kids were with me or Shaun?  Most of the damage was on the passenger side, who knows what would have happened.

2 – What if nobody came to help me? I honestly don’t know what I would have done if that bus driver had not come to help me.  What if I was on a road that was empty in the middle of the night?

Here’s the thing, nobody thinks that when they get into their cars that they are going to get into an accident.  And others will say – well if anything happens, I will just use my cell phone.  I definitely thought that a cellphone would be enough.  Turns out it really isn’t.  I was lucky enough to find mine – but I couldn’t even make the call.  I was so disoriented and confused I had a hard time talking after the accident.  Thanks to that concussion.  

So what can people do to keep themselves safe while out on the road?  Here are some of my thoughts and tips:

1 – Make sure that your car is in tip top shape.  Tire pressure good, winter tires on in the winter, oil changed regularly.  If your car is healthy than you will have a better chance at stopping when you need to, etc.

2 – My kids know that when mommy is driving she needs to concentrate.  No arguing or yelling in the back, no kicking the back of my chair.  They understand that I was in an accident and that it is best for mom to have an environment that is not hectic. (this works most of the time – lol)

3 – Have an emergency kit in your trunk with things like flares, cones, a flashlight, first aid kit etc.  You can find pre-made ones at different department stores, and just toss it in your trunk.

4 – When you are in the market for a new car I highly suggest a Chevrolet, Buick, GMC or Cadillac.  Why you ask?  Well, these cars have the OnStar system. 

OnStar is a tool to give your loved ones peace of mind when you are driving.  There is a red button that you can push at any time for assistance but the car also has built in sensors that know when you are in a collision an emergency advisor will be there to assist. No need to find your cell phone and try and make a call.  These emergency Advisors are medically trained and certified by the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch, this is the same level of training as a 911 operator.  I can only imagine how different my state of mind would be if when the airbags deployed an OnStar advisor had been there to assist and contact emergency services for me.  This is definitely a service to consider to help keep you and your family safe when you are out on the road!

Disclosure: I have partnered with YMC and OnStar and have received compensation for this post. All opinions are my own.

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