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Put that cell phone away on the road

Charla's car after the wreck. Hammer-smash and sardine can lid peel; Charla is a miracle.
Charla's car after the wreck. Hammer-smash and sardine can lid peel; Charla is a miracle.
Charla Rainey

Preparing for a road trip is one thing; spinning 180 degrees into a ditch after looking down at your iphone’s GPS app is quite another.

This is exactly what happened to one of my friends last week.

I have already written two articles about how to prepare for a road trip, but one thing I have not yet taken fully into account is the concept of preparing for emergencies on said road trips.

Obviously one thing to think about before you get in the car for a long drive is how you are going to get to your destination. A week ago, I thought a road atlas, printed directions, handwritten directions, and yes, even an iPhone app were suitable navigation sources.

I also thought that talking on the phone to pass the time and keep you awake was a good idea.

This week, I am decided that one must either have a Bluetooth car stereo setup on his or her cell phone to receive instructions by human, or a dash-mounted GPS device. And I think that cell phones should never be used by the driver to find his or her location.

This is because one of my best friends nearly died on 1-24 East coming home from St. Louis. She looked down at her GPS to find what city she was close to, and when she looked up, knew she had two choices: swerve or die.

She swerved.

After a frightening, loud, and painful tumult, my friend Charla found herself in a ditch. When she opened her eyes, she saw that she was still on Earth.

“I have never felt the hands of Jesus on me like I did that night,” Charla later reflected.

And I have never had to trust Him so completely for a friend's life: Charla’s crash occurred outside of Metropolis, Ill., 2.5 hours from my home above Nashville, Tenn., placing her out of my immediate reach.

After seeing photos that further proved the hand of God over Charla’s life—one where the old silver Buick looked like a hammer had smashed it and a giant hand had peeled the passenger side metal off like a sardine can lid—I decided to write this article to warn my ever-so-eager road tripping generation that cell phones while driving is a serious thing. We should not be looking down at our hands, no matter how skilled we are—or how invincible we feel.

On a brighter note, Charla is a walking miracle. She had a bruise on each arm, and just yesterday MRI and CAT scans showed that she sustained no injuries to her head.

“Praise the Lord!” choruses the community who loves and values Charla Rainey

"I'm a miracle and I'll be praising Jesus for every breathe," Charla says of herself.

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