19-year-old Harmonie David knows she is lucky to be alive after a horrific car accident last November.
The Kamloops teen is speaking out now about what happened, saying if she wasn’t wearing her seatbelt at the time of the crash, she would almost certainly have died.
On Nov. 28, 2013 David had spent the afternoon Christmas shopping with her friend, had dinner with her family and then left her home to visit her boyfriend in Logan Lake. Shortly after leaving home, she got into an accident on the highway. No other cars were involved but one of the emergency responders estimated her car flipped about eight times before coming to a stop. She is not sure exactly what happened to cause the crash.
“I don’t remember how long it was before the emergency responders or my parents were there,” says David. “I remember seeing my mom’s purple jacket as she watched me being extracted from the car, and hearing my dad call to me. I vaguely remember the ride in the ambulance to the hospital.”
She is amazed she only walked away with a mild concussion, a black eye, a bruised cheek and a sore neck and shoulders. Her back still hurts but it is expected to heal without any lasting problems. “I do know how grateful I am that I didn’t hit anybody else, and that nobody was in the car with me. I do know that I would not be alive if I wasn’t wearing my seatbelt,” she says.
David says it has changed her whole perspective on life and death. “I realized that no, I don’t have all the time in the world,” she says. “I think that I was born to do something, but I haven’t done that yet. I think that I didn’t hit anybody, or have anybody else in the car for a reason.”
According to ICBC, if a 150-pound adult is in a head-on crash at 50 km/h and is not wearing a seatbelt, the adult will collide with other occupants, strike the inside of the vehicle or get thrown from the car with the same as the force of a 3½-ton truck.
An unrestrained 25-pound child will be thrown forward with the same force as the weight of 1,200-pound baby elephant.
The good news is that every year, according to ICBC, there are fewer fatal victims identified as not wearing some kind of restraint. In 2008, there were 85 deaths, and that went down to 46 by 2012.
David is now speaking out to let others know the importance of wearing a seatbelt. “I’ve always refused to drive if there’s a passenger in my car not wearing their seatbelt, but it’s even more important now,”she says. “Not only is it a huge fine if you get caught, but it’s so dangerous. My car rolled eight times, up to 15 feet into the air. I wouldn’t be alive without my seatbelt and the grace of God.”
She says the message she wants to tell people is to ‘live for today, but don’t forget about tomorrow.’
“That’s what I was doing, I was living day by day and I wasn’t thinking about my future and all the possibilities,”she says. “I’m still living for today, but I’m keeping tomorrow in mind. For parents, don’t forget to remind your children to wear their seatbelts, even if you aren’t in the car with them. My parents taught me properly, and that’s why I was wearing my seatbelt.”
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