THE RESULT: The wrecked Volkswagen following Deborah?s fateful drive home to Sydney from university at Bathurst.
THE RESULT: The wrecked Volkswagen following Deborah?s fateful drive home to Sydney from university at Bathurst.

In one moment, my life changed forever



I WAS 20-years-old when I had my car accident. I honestly believed that it could never happen to me, but it did.

I lost control of my old Volkswagen on a tight corner, skidded into the path of oncoming traffic, over-corrected and veered off the road. I hit a tree, my seatbelt snapped and I was thrown into the windscreen.

My face was shredded, the glass cut deeply and I was a bloodied mess.

While I can't undo the accident, I can't help but wonder if maybe, just maybe, if I had known more about defensive driving, whether I could have controlled the car better and avoided the accident.

It's too late for me to wish about what I should have done or known, but it's not too late for emerging younger drivers, their families and law-makers as the P-plate debate heats up.

New drivers need to be equipped with the knowledge of their responsibility on the roads, and armed with the skills for handling the roads, varied weather conditions and their cars.

I was never meant to be a road statistic. I was a hard-working university student. I was a dancer. I had a future, and it didn't involve hospitals, painful operations, stitches and ugly scars.

It was 1987, I was heading home to Sydney from university at Bathurst. I was on the Great Western Highway when the crash occurred. In that one, ex- tremely fast moment, I changed my life forever and wiped out the face I had grown up with, I didn't even recognise myself.

I suffered deep facial cuts, a broken nose, my right eyelid was gone, my lip was almost sliced off and I had partial facial paralysis.

I'm in my 30s now, and I've endured about 15 reconstructive operations to heal and cover my injuries. I'll wear my scars forever, occasionally I still feel uncomfortable about the way I look but I'm happy with what the doctors have done.

The reality of my car accident involved painful physical and emotional upheaval to myself, my family and friends. But as a survivor of a car accident I count myself lucky. It could have been a lot worse.



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