Why you should NEVER put your feet on the dashboard: Woman reveals harrowing injuries from minor crash that she could have survived unscathed
- Audra Tatum, 33, and her husband, Nick, hit a car head on in an accident in Georgia
- Ms Tatum was in the passenger seat and was sitting with her legs crossed
- When their vehicle hit the other car, her foot was smashed into her face
- She broke her femur in four places, her ankle and her nose
A mother-of-three has been left permanently disabled after a minor car crash because she had her feet on the dashboard.
Audra Tatum, her husband and her 10-year-old daughter were driving down a back road in Chickamauga, Georgia at 45 miles an hour in August 2015.
The then-31-year-old was sitting in the passenger seat with her right leg crossed over her left, which she had a habit of doing despite her husband’s protestations.
Suddenly, a car pulled out in front of them. Audra’s husband, Nick, smashed head-on into the driver’s side of the other car.
The impact of the crash was on Nick’s side. But while he and their daughter survived with scratches and bruises, the air bag threw Audra’s foot into her face, breaking her nose, ankle, and four parts of her femur.
Today, she lives with two screws in her ankle, two in her hip, and two in her knee, and she cannot stand for more than four hours a day.
Now, Audra is sharing her story to urge other people not to put their feet on the dashboard.
‘All my life I had my legs crossed and my foot on the dash,’ Tatum told CBS News.
‘My husband always told me, ‘You’re going to get in a wreck someday, and you’re going to break your legs.”
On the day, she said, they were driving at a normal speed, in the afternoon, with no traffic in sight.
When the car careered out from the right-hand side, she didn’t have time to consider moving her foot.
‘The airbag went off, throwing my foot up and breaking my nose,’ she said.
‘I was looking at the bottom of my foot facing up at me.
‘Basically my whole right side was broken, and it’s simply because of my ignorance.
‘I’m not Superman. I couldn’t put my foot down in time.’
Airbags inflate at a speed of between 100 and 220 miles an hour.
According to the Chattanooga Fire Department, which is supporting Audra’s campaign, she got off easy.
‘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,’ they said in a statement on Facebook.
Since the car which crashed into them was stolen, Nick’s car insurance had to cover all the damage done.
And because Audra did not have health insurance, she could not get the full care doctors recommended.
While the car insurance covered her emergency treatment, she had to leave the hospital after spending only three days there, instead of 10.
And she could not afford physical therapy. As a result, it took her three weeks to walk after being discharged from the hospital, when it could have taken days. It took more than a month to be able to do so without a walker.
She also had to cover her own pain medication out of pocket – six to eight weeks of oxycodone.
Now, two years later, she cannot stand for more than four hours at a time.
Beyond the crippling pain, Audra said it has ruined her life ambition of becoming a medic.
She had graduated from North Georgia EMT School just six weeks before the crash.
But now, she says, she isn’t capable of the physical work the job requires.
‘I can’t stand more than four hours at a time. Once I’m at that four-hour mark I’m in tears,’ she told CBS.
Speaking to Daily Mail Online, Audra said she has tried working several jobs since the crash but she said it has proved ‘impossible’ to find a job that does not require standing for several hours, which she cannot do.
She currently works full time from home now, entering data all day. But she is looking for a job that will give her better benefits.
Her goal now is to educate people about the dangers of the simple mistake she made that almost cost her her mobility, she said.
She has a GoFundMe page and she wants to raise enough money to afford a billboard on a highway where she can advertise what happened to her and convince people not to sit in cars the way she was sitting at the time of the crash.
She also wants to speak at schools and talk to kids who are about to get their license.
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