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Stacey Leasca
August 10, 2017

For many road trippers, the second we hop into the passenger side of a car, we get cozy by scooching down in our seats, rolling down the window, and popping our feet up on the dash. But one woman’s story may have you rethinking your shotgun seat strategy.

"All my life I had my legs crossed and my foot on the dash," Audra Tatum told CBS News. "My husband always told me, 'You're going to get in a wreck someday, and you're going to break your legs.'"

Tatum said she would often assure her husband that she’d be able to put her foot down in time in the event of a crash.

Related: To Honk or Not to Honk? An Expert Weighs in on Driving Etiquette

But, on August 2, 2015, Tatum’s theory would prove painfully wrong when the couple, who were traveling to Tatum’s parents' home, were T-boned by another vehicle.

"The airbag went off, throwing my foot up and breaking my nose," Tatum said. "I was looking at the bottom of my foot facing up at me."

Tatum also broke her ankle, femur, and arm in the crash.

"Basically my whole right side was broken, and it's simply because of my ignorance," Tatum said. "I'm not Superman. I couldn't put my foot down in time."

In reality, there is absolutely zero chance a human would have a reaction time fast enough to beat a crash or an airbag deployment. As the Chattanooga Fire Department explained in a Facebook post, airbags deploy at between 100 and 220 miles per hour and would likely "send your knees through your eye sockets."

Two years after her accident, Tatum still suffers from her decision. She can no longer work in emergency medical services as she can no longer lift patients and cannot stand for more than four hours at a time.

"I keep telling everybody, you don't want this life," she said. "You don't want the pain and agony every day."

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