A Life Changing Chapter

By Carlotta Meeker
You know, I never thought that something as simple as wearing a seat belt could really save someone’s life when I was younger. When I started driving as a junior at Andover High School, I would always tell my sister that I wouldn’t start the car until she put her seat belt on.
One day in the fall of 2005 my sister and I left the band room at the high school, never thinking that anything would happen, as we got to the vehicle. Getting in the vehicle I waited to start the car until both of us had our seat belts on.
As I started to turn out to merge onto Andover Road, a car whipped out of the other end of the school parking lot and hit me at 40+mph in a school zone. She hit the driver side of my Ford Probe and spun the car around, shattering all the windows and shifting the dash.

It all happened so fast

I wasn’t for sure what had occurred until the officer came to my car. It was hard for the police officer to handle what he saw because he was our Safety Resource Officer at the school and I was covered in glass and cut up. I had to “Dukes of Hazard” to get out of my car because there was no way to open the door.
If it hadn’t been for the bracing bar in the driver’s door, I would have received the full impact of the car. I was also informed by the officer and my doctor that it was a good thing that my sister and I were wearing our seat belts.
From this accident, I broke my ribs, messed up my sternum, and got a concussion but I survived. It made me realize how important seat belts really are and how they saved my life. Being safe is important because anything can happen that can change the outcome of our life.
Today we hear about people who die in crashes who would still be with us today if they had been wearing seat belt. It just goes to show that taking those few seconds to strap yourself in can really change your life.
Carlotta is a grad student at the University of Central Oklahoma


  1. Carlotta is so right. Frequently in my job as the Kansas Accident Data Manager, I see accidents where those wearing their seat belts are unharmed or sustained minor injuries, while those in the same accident not wearing seat belts are disabled or are killed. It is sad, disappointing, and your heart goes out to the families involved. At the same time, you wonder how much better the outcome could be if they would have simply buckled up. Life is too precious. Let's buckle up and greatly increase our chances to live another day.

  2. Wearing your seat belt is a good habit for life. Good habits start at a young age.

  3. Anonymous9/13/2012

    Your story echoes the many success stories I've read concerning seatbelt usage. Unfortunately I've also read far too many stories of tragedy resulting from someone not wearing a seatbelt. Many times, the vehicle rolled over with very little damage, yet the occupant(s) perished as the result of being ejected. They too have a powerful story to tell. Yet, in such instances, it's through the memories lost, not the life yet to live.

  4. Carlotta, thank you for sharing your experience. Thanks to wearing a seat belt every time you get in your car, your story, thankfully, had a happy ending. In many instances young drivers feel invincible. I remember I certainly did when I was in high school. I’m sure your accident and your first-hand account of the importance of wearing seat belts has caused a lot of others to buckle up.

  5. Anonymous9/13/2012

    What a scary story - so glad you are ok. Another great example of how seat belts save lives.

  6. Tim McCool9/13/2012

    So glad you shared with us. I'm sure you still have scary memories of that day. It just takes a few seconds for something to happen that can change a life forever. Seatbelts save lives!

  7. Anonymous9/13/2012

    Carlotta, thanks for sharing your story about how important it is to wear your seat belt. You and your sister did what everyone should do when they first get into a vehicle. Lets hope all readers of this story will share the message with with family and friends. Just maybe one of their lives will be saved by realizing that using seat belts do save lives.

    Thanks again, Larry Emig