As Cambridgeshire Police launches its Buckle Up campaign this September we spoke to one woman who owes her life to a seatbelt after a serious car crash in Peterborough.
This is Emma’s story:
“It was a Friday evening and we were all excited for the weekend. It was my then boyfriend’s birthday and we were eager to get home, get out and celebrate. A little too eager.
“On our usual route home the railway crossing was closed. We sat there for ages waiting as we watched train after train go by and the barriers stay down. Our driver, my then boyfriend, was being very impatient. He started up the engine and turned around.
“As we were driving back into the city our driver decided to show off a little bit, testing out his new ‘toy’ that he got for his birthday. I don’t know much about cars but I know this car was a Ford Zetec 16 valve injection. I had heard it said enough times.
“I wasn’t paying much attention. The driver and our rear seat passenger were chatting away as I listened to the music blaring out the stereo. We had just got some new CD’s from our favourite bands and they had become our anthems for the summer.
“Then all of a sudden the car hit the kerb. The driver had taken the s bend too quick and we’d clipped it. We were now on the other side of the road, who knows how, and our driver snatched at the wheel. We then took off, rolled in the air, and smashed down into the ground.
“What happened next becomes a bit of a blur but I remember mud flying through the driver’s window.
“The next thing I know I’m wedged in, upside down and covered in blood. I’m hanging, only an inch or so above the ground, by my seatbelt. The seatbelt that had just saved my life.
“The car had taken off and landed on its passenger side, it then rolled five times down the grass verge, before coming to a standstill on its roof.
“I was disorientated but I could hear people outside the car. I touched my face and it was sticky. My hair was in my face and it was all matted. I later found out I had three lacerations to my face that were pulsating blood.
“The driver was desperately pulling at my door to try and free me while a passer-by was screaming that the car was leaking fuel.
“I managed to unclip my seatbelt. I fell, not very far, onto the roof of the car and crawled along it before I clambered out of the driver’s door and collapsed onto the floor.
“I have no idea how long I was there before a biker started talking to me. He informed me he was applying to be a paramedic and he looked me over. How lucky was I.
“This was closely followed by the ambulance paramedics. They strapped me down to a back board and carried me into the ambulance. They feared I had back injuries. I was so so scared, but I was alive.
“A full body x-ray, 60 stitches in my face and many hours later I discharged myself and went home.
“My injuries were damaged ligaments between my bottom three vertebras, three scars on my face and a full body battering resulting in swollen limbs and bruises. My face was so swollen you couldn’t see my eyes. I looked like an alien. But I was alive. And didn’t receive one single broken bone.
“Now 16 years later, almost to the day, I am so thankful to my parents for never allowing me to go anywhere without my seatbelt and instilling the importance of it into me. Many of my friends at that age didn’t wear one, but without a shadow of a doubt I’d be dead without it.”