Accident and autobiography.
|My name is irrelevant. I'm a woman of colour living in Canada. I live on Vancouver Island and to put that into perspective for you, most of the people here are all one colour. Which is, fine, but a lot of people complain about it and people seem to be under the notion that life is easier for "minorities". A lot of people tell me that even though everyone is the same colour as them, they're "a minority now". I'm not sure if they expect me to apologize but definitely sympathize.
This is why it's hard for me to do either. I'm sharing the story of my first (and hopefully only) major vehicle accident. I hope to share the consequences of police misconduct and certain 'attitudes' that do go on in this life. The result of a quickly written ticket was a huge negative financial impact. Besides a slap in the face to basic human rights, it impeded the time it took to regain my place as a functioning and contributing member of society and my healing process. Which is no small feat following an unexpected traumatic life event. It's also a stark reminder of how easily dismissed minorities can be in (certain parts of) the world.
I know what happened the night I fell asleep driving. I was there. Sober and alone. I fell asleep coming down an incline to a flat stretch of dark, quiet highway. I woke up as my vehicle was heading for a culvert, already off the pavement.
I saw nothing but thorn bushes in front of the windshield and thought I was dreaming. I was northbound on the highway when my car crashed approximately 70 ft in the culvert, approximately 30 ft down. As it crashed it deployed 5 airbags, rendering me unconscious.
I was unconscious for an undetermined amount of time and when I woke up I had no idea where I was and thought I was upside down. I could hear liquid running and immediately worried about fire. I couldn't smell gas, a slight relief. But I became panicked because I had no idea if the car was in the water, filling up or sinking. I started to panic at the risk of drowning! I undid my seat belt but couldn't get the driver's door open, so I tried the passenger door. It moved 4 inches and snapped shut. Moving around inside the car also kicked up a lot of airbag dust (which is cornstarch or talcum powder) and I began coughing. The sudden lack of oxygen made me think I was going to die trapped in that car. I went into SHEER PANIC. I just wanted someone to come and save me. To help me get out of there. I was beyond SCARED for my life! I was terrified out of my mind. I had no idea if I was seriously injured, and only vaguely aware I was not bleeding or in any intense pain.
I told myself to calm down. I repeated it, over and over, until I stopped panicking and started listening to myself. "The only way you're going to get out of here is if you CALM DOWN". Somehow, despite the engine of my car being crushed against my windshield, I managed, in the darkness, to push the passenger door open. I was too scared to reach into the backseat in case there was broken glass everywhere. It was leverage and adrenaline that opened that car door. When I climbed out it closed so viciously behind me, it could have crushed a limb. What I didn't know, was the car was standing on the trunk and the whole frame (especially the front) was bent. I had no idea what I was climbing (or falling) into when I got out of the car. I just knew I had to get out. Fortunately, I landed in ankle-deep water at the bottom of the culvert. I could see road lights, very far from me and made my way through waist-deep thorn bushes toward them. When I got back to the highway I crossed the road to a rest area on the other side. A car stopped at the rest area and I told them there had been an accident and asked them to call the police for me.