Bethany Benson, a 22-year-old college student, was headed home in the passenger seat of her boyfriend's car late one evening. The two had been visiting Bethany's mother, and knew that the trip back would take several hours. Tired, Bethany reclined in her seat and put her feet up on the dashboard to take a nap.
Sound familiar? It isn't uncommon to want to get more comfortable on a long car ride. Bethany's peaceful sleep was instead interrupted by a crash that changed her life forever.
Down the road from the couple, another vehicle had quickly collided with a motorcycle. A tractor trailer just behind the crash quickly braked to avoid it. Bethany's boyfriend, following the trailer, braked, too. The split-second decision sent Bethany and her boyfriend's car slamming into the trailer in front of them, causing irreparable damage to both. While her boyfriend needed 100 stitches, Bethany suffered far more permanent damage.
When the airbags deployed, they struck Bethany in the hamstrings at approximately 200 mph (roughly the speed of a Formula One race car). Bethany's knees struck her face, breaking her nose, left eye socket, and cheek bone. She also dislocated her jaw. The airbags, intended to help in a crash, caused Bethany permanent damage because her feet were on the dashboard of the car.
In the crash, Bethany's feet were crushed and broken. Now, her feet are two shoe sizes smaller than they were before the crash, and she has to purchase expensive custom made orthopedic shoes to accommodate.
Bethany will never be the same after this accident. Her vision and hearing have been permanently affected, and she has absolutely no recollection of the accident. The 26-year-old suffered a brain bleed that left her with the mental capabilities of a 13-year-old. Bethany now lives with her mother, who cares for her.
In the four years since the accident, both Bethany and her mother have become huge advocates for seat belt and general car safety. Together, they hope to spread Bethany's story and prevent anyone else from being harmed by such a simple mistake. Both are committed to preventing such accidents in the future, and hope to warn people against putting their feet up on the dashboard while riding in the passenger seat.
Help Bethany and her mom by SHARING this story for friends and family who may be unaware of the dangers.