Seat belts saved my children, my life

  • Published
  • By 1st. Lt. Trisha Loede
  • 460 Space Wing Protocol chief
On April 22 at about 5:10 p.m. I experienced every parent's nightmare -- a major motor vehicle accident with my children in the car.

I was on my way to drop off our 8- and 6-year-old children with my husband before reporting to work when a car ran a red light and slammed head on into my vehicle.

I was driving northbound on one of the local roads and was approaching an intersection where I had a green light. As I proceeded through the intersection, going 40 mph, a southbound driver decided to make a left hand turn -- into my lane.

I slammed on the brakes in time to lock us into our seat belts milliseconds before impact. We slammed into a Ford F-350, bounced off of it, and hit it again with the back of our sport utility vehicle before we stopped in the middle of the intersection.

According to witnesses, the driver of the truck didn't even slow down, nor did he look at on-coming traffic -- he just turned.

I shudder to think of the outcome had we not been wearing our seat belts. The children would have been tossed around the inside of the spinning SUV like the loose papers and toys that seemed to appear from out of nowhere.

Today, they are at school showing off their battle wounds, telling all their friends about seat belts, and I am here at work -- with nothing more than some sore muscles, bumps and bruises. The SUV that I loved to drive is a total loss.

Think about this: we as consumers can upgrade just about any feature in our vehicles - from the rims and tires to the interior and music system. The one feature that stays the same, no matter what level of upgrade you get, is seat belts. They are there for a reason.

You have no excuse for not using them. The next time you get into your vehicle, remember, you may be the best driver out there, but you never know who is behind the wheel of every other vehicle on the road.

We didn't even have a chance to prevent this accident, said witnesses and police on scene. We are lucky to have been able to walk away from our mangled SUV.

Do what you can to protect yourselves and your family. You only get one chance in an accident. I am thankful that we made the right decision and buckled up.

I wrote this as your Wingman to encourage you to wear your seat belt!