Have you ever ridden in the passenger seat with your feet up on the dashboard? I sure have. And for years, Audra Tatum of Chickamuga, GA did as well. Despite knowing it was unsafe, and even hearing constant warnings from her husband, she did it anyway. Until one fated day two years ago when her life changed forever. Audra now knows how risky it is to ride in a car this way, and she wants others to heed her warnings.
On August 2, 2015, Audra and her husband were T-boned by another vehicle, a mere four miles from their house. Because Audra’s feet were up on the dashboard, the impact hurt Audra severely, whereas her husband walked away with only bumps and bruises. In a CBS news article, Audra describes that “the airbag went off, throwing my foot up and breaking my nose. I was looking at the bottom of my foot facing up at me.”
And when you see the picture of Audra immediately after the accident, you see that she’s not exaggerating.
Tatum suffered a broken femur, ankle, and arm. After several surgeries and extensive physical therapy, Audra tells Her View From Home that she’s still in pain every day, and doctors tell her she’ll never again be pain free. She describes to CBS news: “I can’t do my career as an EMS. I can’t lift patients anymore. I can’t stand more than 4 hours at a time. Once I’m at that 4-hour mark I’m in tears.”
And as shocking as her injuries are, according to the Chattanooga, TN Fire Department, Audra is lucky. “Airbags deploy between 100 and 220 MPH,” they share in a recent Facebook post. “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.”
Audra would like to tell her story so that others don’t make this silly (and possibly catastrophic) mistake. A married mother to three teenagers, Audra tells Her View From Home that she is an “outdoors person who likes hiking, fishing, and riding motorcycles” with her family. Sadly, she can’t enjoy these hobbies nearly as much now. She says says she is 60% returned to the body and capabilities she had before, and that’s as healed as she’ll ever get.
“I keep telling everybody, you don’t want this life,” Audra warns. “You don’t want the pain and agony every day.”
Keep your feet off the dash, friends. Your ability to walk pain-free and enjoy life to the fullest could depend on it.