Motorist unable to walk six months after accident: ‘No point feeling angry or negative’
Father of two trapped in car after horrific head-on crash.
He was driving normally, keeping within the speed limits when, to his horror, a lorry suddenly appeared in front of him and crashed into his car.
The accident at Mandai Avenue resulted in him having an emergency six-hour operation. He will not be able to walk for at least another six months.
But there is no bitterness, said Mr Mark Lim, 41.
"I thought I would be very angry with (the lorry driver), but I did not have that negative feeling. Sometimes, accidents do happen...
"All of us make mistakes and I feel that there's no point feeling angry or negative.
"It doesn't help," said the father of two, who was discharged from Jurong Community Hospital earlier this month.
The incident, which happened on Dec 3, was a three-vehicle collision.
Recently, Mr Lim, an interior designer for high-end residences, uploaded onto Facebook footage of the accident, which was taken from his in-car camera. He wanted to remind others to drive safely.
The 18-second clip, which has garnered more than 63,000 views, shows Mr Lim's car on the road before a lorry appears suddenly, coming from the opposite direction through the trees on the road divider and colliding head-on with his car.
At the end of the clip, debris can be seen flying.
In a phone interview with The New Paper, Mr Lim said he only had a split second to react to the lorry. He tried to steer a little to the left, narrowly avoiding a full-frontal collision.
But the driver's side of his black Mercedes-Benz was still badly damaged.
A motorcyclist was later also found to be injured.
He said: "I thought it was game over, that I was going to die. It's a natural thing that will flash through your mind...
"Right after that, it was a case of denial. After the big bang, when I started to open my eyes, I had patches of blindness.
"It's really like what you see in the movies. You see patches of blind spots. I can make up pictures of people running to me, but it's a bit foggy."
Still conscious but feeling stabs of pain in his body, Mr Lim reached for his mobile phone to call his wife, Geraldine.
He then did the strangest thing: He asked his wife to help him cancel a work trip to Beijing the following day.
Mrs Lim, 41, a housewife, told TNP in a separate interview: "I was actually anxious because I needed to know what was the situation.
"My first questions to him were: 'How badly injured? Any blood? Any injuries? Where are you?' He never answered any of them.
"He only told me to tell my partner about cancelling (the work trip)."
As Mr Lim later appeared breathless, a fellow driver helped to explain the situation to Mrs Lim over the phone.
Mr Lim remembered that, while still trapped in his car and waiting for help to arrive, he ran his fingers over the airbag that had been deployed.
"It was the first time I was seeing an airbag... Thinking back, (I'm amazed) I still had that kind of mood to explore," he said.
Singapore Civil Defence Force officers were alerted to the accident at 5.55pm. It took them 10 minutes to remove Mr Lim from the car with hydraulic tools.
He was taken to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH), along with the injured lorry driver and the motorcyclist.
Even as he was struggling to remain conscious, Mr Lim was mindful not to alarm his family. A paramedic had offered to call his other family members. Instead, Mr Lim asked for a photo to be taken of him giving a thumbs up, to reassure his family.
At KTPH, he underwent a six-hour operation on two parts of his body.
Mr Lim declined to reveal details of his injuries, except that they were "serious" and the impact of the accident was mainly on his body.
That he was still coherent after such a serious accident provided some relief for his wife.
Mrs Lim said: "I felt relieved because I expected head injuries and lots of scratches on the face, or even blood. Considering it's a serious accident, he could have died."
Doctors estimate it will take another six months before Mr Lim will be able to walk again. He now moves around on crutches.
He has stopped taking painkillers to avoid becoming dependent on them.
Mr Lim said: "I'm able to cope. I'd be lying if I say there's no pain."
He added that the accident has helped him discover a higher threshold for pain.
"My wife used to tease me because I hate needles. She doesn't do it any more."
Mrs Lim said: "All along, I only like to tease him. But I know that he's actually very brave."
Investigations are ongoing, a police spokesman said.
I thought I would be very angry with (the lorry driver), but I did not have that negative feeling. Sometimes, accidents do happen...
- Mr Mark Lim, on the driver of the lorry which collided head-on with his car
His message: Don't be complacent
ON THE ROAD TO RECOVERY: Mr Mark Lim was discharged from Jurong Community Hospital earlier this month. PHOTO COURTESY OF MARK LIM
Mr Mark Lim's family at first refused his request to watch the accident footage taken on his in-car camera.
Mr Lim said: "Actually, I felt okay (psychologically). I was ready to watch the video. But (my family) tried to stop me.
"I think if the same situation had happened to my sister or wife, I would probably do the same thing. It's understandable..."
A friend even asked him: "What's the point of bringing back bad memories?"
But Mr Lim explained: "It's not just that. It's a case of overcoming (the accident) and going past that. I'm the kind of person who prefers to overcome rather than forget about it."
After he was discharged earlier this month, he asked again to see the footage. This time, his family relented.
"The first time I watched it, I did feel 'Wah, it's quite scary. I could have been killed'.
"But it didn't affect me that much. After watching it a few more times, I was able to pause at certain (parts) to study (the video) and think about how I could have reacted better.
"But I wasn't speeding. I feel there wasn't much I did wrong that led to the accident," he said.
He decided to share the footage on his Facebook page because he wanted to remind motorists - even safe drivers - not to be complacent.
The video has garnered more than 63,000 views and has been shared by road safety interest group Beh Chia Lor.
Said Mr Lim: "Most of us see and forget many of the accident videos that have been shared. (It's) not often that you get to see a video from the victim's in-car camera.
"If we could all be more mindful of road conditions, the speed... You know you are rushing, but you forget that you may end up not reaching.
"You tend to feel that it's okay, it's safe. That's complacency.
"If this (video) can be shared and I can help, even if it's indirectly, to avoid one accident, I will do it."
Accident figures for 2015
Number of accidents with injuries
Number of speeding-related accidents
Number of fatal accidents
Number of fatal accidents involving speeding