Life on hold for 7 years after accident

Having experienced at first hand what a negligent road user can do, Ms Kristina Liu says drivers wield power and she wants them to remember that. "Being distracted for a mere moment can take away someone's life," she adds.
Having experienced at first hand what a negligent road user can do, Ms Kristina Liu says drivers wield power and she wants them to remember that. "Being distracted for a mere moment can take away someone's life," she adds.ST FILE PHOTO

Student, who was knocked down by van at 17, faced uphill battle to get her life, studies back on track

Every life matters - that is the slogan of the Traffic Police when it comes to issues relating to road safety.

While the number of deaths and injuries from road accidents has fallen in the first 10 months of this year, every accident is still one too many.

In the case of Ms Kristina Liu, an accident outside her school in 2004 caused her life to be put on hold for seven years.

Ms Liu, who was a 17-year-old student at the time, said she was knocked down at a pedestrian crossing by a van.

The accident injured the frontal lobe of her brain, giving her a host of memory, communication and motor-coordination problems. She had to drop out of school because she had trouble processing information.

She needed several years of therapy and recovery before she could restart her education.

Now 30, she is in her first year of linguistics studies at Nanyang Technological University.

"I remember being in a wheelchair for a month or so after the accident," Ms Liu recounted. "I then tried to go back to school in 2005, but I found I couldn't study or register what was being taught in lectures. I couldn't process or retain the information. It really shook up my life and it was very traumatic."

TRAUMATIC EXPERIENCE

I remember being in a wheelchair for a month or so after the accident. I then tried to go back to school in 2005, but I found I couldn't study or register what was being taught in lectures. I couldn't process or retain the information. It really shook up my life and it was very traumatic.

MS KRISTINA LIU

Besides these problems, she also experienced social and emotional struggles.

"It's not easy at the age of 17 to bear red scars of the accident on your face," she said.

Beyond physical scarring, the injuries went deeper.

Ms Liu blamed herself and asked herself why she had not seen the van. She also did not want to cross roads on her own for a period after the accident.

"I was scared it would happen again. It took me a long time before I could cross the road on my own. The accident just threw my life into confusion."

 
 

Having experienced at first hand what a negligent road user can do, Ms Liu said drivers have power and she wants them to remember that.

"The life of another person is really in a driver's hands. Being distracted for a mere moment can take away someone's life or throw it into chaos and confusion. A simple act can destroy someone," said Ms Liu.

"On the other hand, a simple act of kindness from a gracious driver can put a smile on someone's face."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 25, 2017, with the headline 'Life on hold for 7 years after accident'. Print Edition | Subscribe