Bethany Benson wants everyone to know about the dangers of putting their feet up on the dashboard of a car. It was something she always did and it ended up changing her life forever. She remembers nothing of the car crash in August 2010, but learned afterwards that she and her then-boyfriend hit the back of a semi-truck with enough speed to crush the car like an accordion.
They were wearing their seat belts, which saved their lives. But Bethany had her feet up on the dash and had fallen asleep and when the airbag deployed. So when the airbag inflated at more than 300 km per hour, her feet were rammed upwards and through the thick glass of the windshield, and her knees were slammed backwards into her head.
“I always used to put my feet up in a car,” she said. “It’s easier on the back if you have your feet up. I never even thought that it could be so dangerous.”
Her left eye socket and left cheekbone were cracked. Her nose was broken. Her spleen was removed. Her brain began bleeding. Eight bones were broken in her left foot and three bones in her right foot.
Her injuries have also had a lasting effect even though they’re no longer visible. She is on multiple medications, in constant pain and an irreversible change to her brain patterns as result of the brain injury. She’s had to relearn motor skills, speech and is sometimes unable to control her moods.
“I got back a different daughter,” her mother, Mary Lachapelle, told Driving. “I lost a sweet 22-year-old who worked full-time and put herself through university. She was on a great path. I got a 13-year-old with anger issues.”
Bethany is fully aware that she may not have suffered such terrible injuries if she had not had her feet on the dashboard. As result, she wants to educate as many people as she can about the dangers of riding with your feet on the dash. She wants people to know that it’s not safe, even for a minute, and to encourage drivers to stop their passengers from doing it also.
“Now I see people doing it all the time and it just bothers me because they don’t know how dangerous it is,” she said. “I just want to scream at them, to tell them not to do it, because they might end up like me.”
Please share Bethany’s important safety message with your family and friends!