The Impacts of Drowsy Driving

I recently signed a petition on Change.org about the impacts of drowsy driving. I have had personal experience with this and have been asked to share my experience.

Approximately 14 years ago, on Christmas night, my mom, stepdad and I were returning home. My stepdad was asleep in the passenger seat and my mom was driving on the four (or six-lane) highway. I was in the backseat. My mom and stepdad had both said they were drowsy, but my mom said she felt she was fine to drive home. We had been driving for a while when I noticed that my mom had been swerving. Before I could do anything, our car started heading towards the opposing traffic which happened to be multiple semi-trucks. I started screaming and my stepdad woke up. He grabbed the wheel and the car flipped three or four times. After which, it slid for about 50-75 feet (facing the opposite direction).

Not too long after, an off-duty police officer approached our vehicle to see if everyone was okay. My mom was unconscious, with multiple injuries; my stepdad was fully alert and mostly uninjured. I had multiple injuries as well. Our injuries included, starting with my mom, a 5th-cervical vertebrae rupture, which caused her to have neck/spinal surgery. She had almost complete memory loss of the accident as well and severe whiplash. Secondly, my injuries consisted of 2-3 fractured ribs (during the car flipping), as well as facial injuries from sliding along the grassy embankment (during the sliding), embedding grass into my face for about a month -- as well as losing the top-most layer of skin. Our car was completely totaled and looked more like a mangled ball of metal than a car.

The off-duty police officer stayed with us until emergency personnel arrived. My mom was flown by Life-Flight to the closest hospital, which happened to be a very reputable hospital in Olathe, Kansas. My stepdad and I were looked over and taken by ambulance. Thankfully, neither he nor I suffered any brain damage or memory loss.

To sum this all up, the message I'm trying to get across here, is that this could have been much worse. If anyone takes anything away from this, I hope it would be this: drowsy driving is very dangerous and if you are tired PLEASE pull over. Your life and the lives of others are much more important than being on time.