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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at West Chester chapter.

I almost died. That sounds very dramatic, but it’s true. I was driving to visit my friend and hydroplaned on the PA Turnpike. The sky was clear, but the road was wet, and I was speeding. I tapped the median, which sent me flying into the guard rail, and I nearly went over a cliff to my death – but I didn’t. I walked out of the accident completely fine, no concussion, no whiplash, nothing. I have spent the last month and a half telling people I am fine, but the truth is, I am not okay. I still see the cliff every day. I think about how I almost died every time I step in a car; I remember the feeling of the airbag hitting my face every time I touch my keys. This is what I have learned after getting in my first crash.

  1. You are allowed to feel grief.

That is one thing that I felt like people never understood. I felt real grief after my accident. I am unsure if I was grieving the loss of my car, my mortality, or maybe just the situation, but there was true grief. It is not the same grief after losing someone, but no grief feels the same. I read countless articles and books after my accident to try to understand what I was feeling. It is hard to pinpoint an emotion, but once you understand what you are feeling, it makes it a little easier to move on from it.

  1. No trauma is too small for therapy.

Talking to my therapist about what happened has made me realize that I experienced real trauma from my accident. I have never liked talking to people in my real life about my feelings, so speaking to someone outside of my life about what I am feeling related to the accident has allowed me to explore my emotions about it.

  1. Remember, you are not alone.

 According to Statista, over 6 million car accidents are reported annually in the US. This means you are not the only one experiencing what you feel. Recognizing that someone out there feels how you are has helped me overcome my guilt.

  1. You can’t let yourself stop driving altogether.

Getting back behind the wheel was the scariest thing for me. I have always loved driving and the freedom it has given me, but the first time I tried to drive after my accident, I was terrified. But after that first drive, I knew I was okay and safe in the car again. They are called accidents for a reason, and you shouldn’t let an accident stop you from doing something that makes you happy.

  1. Cherish the little things in life.

 It seems cheesy, but if I died, I would never get to move back into school or walk around campus, so now I look at everything around me in a new light. I am thankful for being able to experience life. Music has been a massive factor in this. I have always enjoyed music, but now I have the urge to study music and fully understand the artist’s intent behind every word.

  1. Your health is the most essential thing you can control.

I have always pushed off the lifestyle changes I always felt I needed to make. But I have realized if not now, when? I might not have had a chance to do it later, so I need to do it now. And small steps are all you need to make a significant change. I started by waking up 5 minutes earlier each day. I also make time to practice gratitude and thank life for all my experiences.

Now, nearly two months later, it still isn’t easy for me when I’m in the car. I am worse when other people drive me; I feel less in control. Since I hit the median, I am terrified when my friends get in the left lane if there is a concrete wall next to it. We all heal in our own time. I might never get over my experience, but there is triumph in the effort. Knowing I am actively working to better myself post-accident has helped me heal. And I hope it helps you too.

Gianna Marro

West Chester '26

Gianna is a sophomore Accounting major with a minor in white-collar crimes at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. Her passion for writing stems from her background in the arts. She loves to focus on the arts and pop culture. Gianna writes through the eyes of self-reflection on all topics.