Breaking News
More () »

You're in a bad car wreck. What do you do next?

Each year, thousands of people across the country die in car wrecks.

All this week on 9NEWS Mornings, were highlighting incredible stories of survival  and what you can do if you find yourself in a similar situation. 

KUSA – Easter Sunday 2018 was supposed to be a day like any other for Kimmy Murray. She was driving down Pena Boulevard when someone else exiting the highway made a last minute decision.

“When she changed her mind, she caused this lady to go this way and then I swerved and hit the dirt and started flipping,” Murray said.

Her car flipped multiple times, and she said all she could do was wonder when it was ever going to stop.

“I was bent on the floor,” Murray said. “And I heard somebody say ‘breathe.’”

Murray broke her tibia and had severe organ damage. She spent seven-and-a-half weeks at the UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital but says she experienced an emotional blow more severe than the physical one.

Her 15-year-old dog Maggie was also in the car during the crash. She was thrown out of the vehicle and didn’t survive.

“She was my baby,” Murray said. “It was me and her against the world.”

Murray said during her ordeal, she made sure she never lost faith and she never lost hope. And now, the competitive weight lifter is back in the gym.

“I’m just happy to be alive,” she said.

Car crashes claimed 37,000 lives in 2017, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. More than 600 of those crashes happened in Colorado, and nearly half of the victims were driving.

If you find yourself in a car accident, Captain Scott Richardson with South Metro Fire Rescue says to stay inside your vehicle, call 911 and give the best location possible.

“The only reason to get out of your car is if your car is on fire, you believe your car is on fire, or if you’re truly in an unsafe spot where your car is, in which case we want you to get to the side of the road,” Richardson said.

It’s for your own safety. Firefighters have specialized tools to help get victims out of their cars safely, without further injuring them.

“Sometimes when the car is crunched a lot, we have to use what we call struts, and we can push the car apart in certain ways to be able to create more room for us to work and to get the patient out,” Richardson said.

If you see a car crash, firefighters say to give emergency responders as much room as possible. And, to not drive distracted in the meantime and cause another accident.

Dr. Comilla Sasson said even the most minor car wrecks can have major psychological impacts.

“If you’ve had a bad car accident, you drive past that same intersection and you get nervous and you get really anxious … or you just avoid it altogether,” she said. “So I think part of it is just recognition, No. 1, and then No. 2, is just making sure if you start to really get into those types of [post-traumatic stress disorder], that you find help right away because it’s so important.”

If you or someone you know is dealing with trauma, you can call Colorado Crisis Services at 1-844-493-8255 or text “talk” to 38255.

SUGGESTED VIDEOS | Local stories from 9NEWS

Before You Leave, Check This Out