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by Abigail Van Buren

Victims in Car Accident Don't Get Second Chance

DEAR ABBY: A few years back, you published a piece about what happens in the first 10 seconds of a car accident. I posted it on my refrigerator but it disappeared (my daughter took it for her friends to read, and that's the last I saw of it). I would like to have another copy because I want my children and their friends to read it before they head out for the evening.

Abby, would you please print it again? -- CRYSTAL ROSETTA, CRISFIELD, MD.

DEAR CRYSTAL: Yes, I will. Although it is very graphic, it is worth reading so that young people (and oldsters, too) will realize how devastating a car accident can be.


by the Georgia Paramedics Against Drunk Drivers

(submitted by Lucille Groat)

Do you know what happens in the first fatal second after a car going 55 miles per hour hits a solid object?

1. In the first tenth of the second, the front bumper and grill collapse.

2. The second tenth finds the hood crumbling, rising and striking the windshield as the spinning rear wheels lift from the ground. Simultaneously, fenders begin wrapping themselves around the solid object. Although the car's frame has been halted, the rest of the car is still going 55 miles an hour. Instinct causes the driver to stiffen his legs against the crash, and they snap at the knee joint.

3. During the third tenth of the second, the steering wheel starts to disintegrate and the steering column aims for the driver's chest.

4. The fourth tenth of the second finds two feet of the car's front end wrecked, while the rear end still moves at 35 miles per hour. The driver's body is still traveling at 55 miles per hour.

5. In the fifth tenth of the second, the driver is impaled on the steering column and blood rushes into his lungs.

6. The sixth tenth of the second, the impact has built up to the point that the driver's feet are ripped out of tightly laced shoes. The brake pedal breaks off. The car frame buckles in the middle. The driver's head smashes into the windshield as the rear wheels, still spinning, fall back to earth.

7. In the seventh tenth of the second, hinges rip loose, doors fly open and the seats break free, striking the driver from behind.

8. The seat striking the driver does not bother him because he is already dead. The last three-tenths of the second mean nothing to the driver.

P.S. READERS: Although air bags offer some degree of protection, I suggest that you make several copies of this grisly piece, and the next time you ask a passenger to please buckle his or her seat belt and the passenger replies, "Oh, we're less than 10 minutes from where we're going," counter with, "I'm not moving until you buckle your seat belt." Then hand the passenger this piece.

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