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  • Writer's pictureAlex Willis

My Jeep Saved My Life

“You should write Jeep a letter.”


“You should write Jeep a letter, it saved your life.”

These words hit me hard. When I was spinning into the median and my airbag went off, I had a moment, where as fast as everything was going, time slowed down, just for an instant where the gravity of it hit me. It must have been a fraction of a second but the whole of everything that went through my mind went something like: “Oh my God. Is this really happening? What is happening? Am I going to die? This is bad. What do I do? Oh my God, that’s the barrier, I’m headed straight into...”

On Sunday, March 17th, at 17:33, I was in my first car accident. Sure, I might have pulled into the garage a little too close to the wall and scraped my side, or accidentally pulled too far forward and hit my bumper on a parking lot guard rail. But never anything major, nothing involving another vehicle, and nothing where lives were at risk.

I had just had the BEST weekend in DC with my bestie. We painted the town and ate all the things. I couldn’t wait to get home to start writing about our activities and get a blog post uploaded that I had been working on the day before.

I was half an hour from home, heading north in the right lane on 83, when out of nowhere I see a car coming in my left rearview. Impact. Jolted, I spin. My car is now perpendicular to the highway and I’m heading into the median. It happened so fast. In a flash, I knew something very bad was happening, I was questioning my reality when I saw the median in front of me. “This is bad. Really bad.” BANG! The airbag goes off and the next thing I know I’m being flung backwards.

I felt the airbag hit my face, the tip of my nose stung. I’ve always known that if you lose control of your vehicle, you’re supposed to turn into the direction your car is headed in… but what if you’re headed backwards? “Brakes!” I hit my brakes and pulled my e-brake.

I looked out, fuzzily seeing cars pulling over. I realized I was higher up, that I was looking down on everyone. I had been projected up the hill that ran alongside the highway. If I had been knocked out or hesitated any longer, I would have gone down backwards into that ditch.

Two men came running towards my vehicle. Stunned, I opened my door. They asked if I was okay and I blubbered responses back to them. I had never seen my hands shake so badly before. “Why don’t you sit back down? Someone called 911, do you have anyone you want to call?”

“My dad!” I turned to look for my phone, everything had flown all over, but finally I saw it on the floor.

“Daddy?” I tried the best I could to keep it together, “I was in an accident. I’m okay, but can you please come?”

“Where are you?”

I looked at my GPS. “I’m, I’m on 83” I stuttered.

“Where on 83?”

“Um, I don’t know. Let me send you my location.” I couldn’t remember how to share my location. My fingers were trembling so bad it was hard to scroll through my phone. “Did you get it?”

No. I didn’t do it right. “Let me drop a pin.”

“Okay, honey. You’re in York, about half an hour away. I’m coming. I’ll stay on the phone with you.”

The police officer had arrived and asked me if I was okay, he took my information and did the same with the other driver. Back and forth he went asking what happened, talking to the witnesses, and trying to piece it all together. Two firetrucks arrived, EMS, and a tow truck. EMS came and checked me out. I only noticed sharp pains on my left knee and hand and my left lower back hurt, but nothing that felt like it warranted a trip to the hospital. My dad was coming, he’s a doctor and could check me out.

jeep rolling down hill after highway accident
I realized I should probably start taking photos when they started rolling my Jeep down to tow.

The firefighters put wedges in front of my back wheels to prevent me from rolling forward onto the highway. It was now dark. I remember everyone checking out my vehicle. I had a nice jeep.

Everyone was really kind continually making sure I was okay.

As I stood on the hill watching my jeep get maneuvered down to the road and hooked up for towing, the firefighter next to me made a comment about my Jeep. I looked over to him, “You should write Jeep a letter. That vehicle really saved your life.”

Those words bounced around my head. Saved my life. My life. Up until that moment, I knew I was okay. All things considered, everything was okay. I hadn’t thought about what happened. I could have died. And not in that hyperbolic sense we often hear it used. I literally could have died.

My dad finally made it and I dove into his arms. My jeep was already on the tow truck ready to go. We went through it making sure all my personal items were taken out. The tow truck guy gave me his card and was on his way. The firefighters left shortly after. All that was left was waiting on the paperwork from the police officer.

An hour after my accident, I was in my dad’s truck on the way home.

I was safe. I let it out. I let it all out.

Thank you for letting me be vulnerable with you. This wasn't easy at all for me, but creating this video and blog post about my accident was probably one of the most cathartic things I could have done for myself. It really helped me to work through my emotions and make peace with the most traumatizing event I’ve experienced to date.

I am unbelievably blessed. I know I was lucky and promise to no longer take my life for granted.

Stay tuned for the adventures to come!

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