She’s sharing her story to help others avoid what happened to her
You’ve no doubt seen people do this. They settle in for a car ride, stretch their legs, and put their feet up on the dashboard. It may seem completely harmless, but a woman from Georgia learned the hard way how dangerous it actually is and now she’s sharing her story in hopes that it will help others.
“All my life I had my legs crossed and my foot on the dash,” Audra Tatum tells CBS News. “My husband always told me, ‘You’re going to get in a wreck someday, and you’re going to break your legs.'”
She didn’t care, she was comfortable. She assured him it was fine.
“I’ll put my foot down in time,” she replied to him every time.
The mom of three said her perspective completely changed two years ago on August 2, 2015. She and her husband were driving to her parent’s house just four miles away to pick up her two sons when they were T-boned by another vehicle.
“The airbag went off, throwing my foot up and breaking my nose,” Tatum explains. “I was looking at the bottom of my foot facing up at me.”
Tatum’s ankle, femur, and arm were all broken by the impact. Everyone else walked away from the accident with just scrapes and bruises.
“Basically my whole right side was broken, and it’s simply because of my ignorance,” Tatum admits. “I’m not Superman. I couldn’t put my foot down in time.”
A local fire department in Chattanooga, Tennessee heard Tatum’s story and helped spread awareness through a Facebook post that has since gone viral with over 3,000 shares.
“While traveling this weekend, I noticed many passengers had their feet on the dashboard of their car,” the poster writes. “Airbags deploy between 100 and 220 MPH. If you ride with your feet on the dash and you’re involved in an accident, the airbag may send your knees through your eye sockets.”
Tatum says she’s couldn’t walk for a month after the accident. She underwent several surgeries and weeks of physical therapy. And to this day, she’s still in pain.
“I can’t do my career as an EMS. I can’t lift patients anymore,” she explains. “I can’t stand more than four hours at a time. Once I’m at that four-hour mark I’m in tears.”
Her remarks about her experience are heartbreaking. Unfortunately, just like many things in life, there are no do-overs. There are no second chances, but Tatum is doing what she can to prevent this from happening to others by speaking out about her accident.
“I keep telling everybody, you don’t want this life,” she said. “You don’t want the pain and agony every day.”
Tatum says she’ll continue to recover and part of her healing will be telling her story to as many people as possible. She recently set up a GoFundMe to help spread the word.
“I am trying to raise money so that I can advocate my warning in many ways,” she shares. “Billboards, speaking at conventions, schools, anywhere that I can to help spread my story to hopefully save lives.”
She explains that her medical expenses were covered 100 percent, so the funds will strictly go towards towards educating and raising awareness.
“If I can save one person from doing this and they’re not going through it, that would be wonderful.”