A beauty queen who was thrown through her car window after initially escaping unharmed from a crash said the experience has changed her life.
Miss Wales Darcey Corria, 21, from Barry in Vale of Glamorgan, was left with a broken neck and pelvis in a collision on the M4 in January.
Two months on, she is still in pain but said her rehabilitation had given her “a completely different take on life”.
She said it had opened her eyes to “different realities”.
Due to be competing at the Miss World competition this year, she said she would be there as “the best version of herself” after struggling with her mental and physical recovery.
The 21-year-old remembers driving home from Swansea in bad weather when she lost control of her car near Bridgend. She skidded to a halt but was unharmed.
As she tried to escape, with her car still across the motorway, her vehicle was hit.
“As I was climbing over, I remember looking back to see how close the cars were and as I’ve looked back to see, the car hit me and I went through the passenger window,” she said.
The window broke her neck and jaw and the impact of hitting the floor broke her pelvis and lower back.
“It’s more scary to think back now,” she said.
“The scariest time was when I was on the side of the road and there was a lady who was helping me.
“I just remember being really cold, I was losing a lot of blood, it was getting dark and I just felt like I was on my own.”
Darcey spent 20 days in hospital and is still receiving treatment. There is a chance she might have to have an operation on her neck.
“Looking back at the first week home and I was still on my medication, I felt really strong, I was going on social media and it hadn’t hit me yet. It was like I was dreaming.”
But coming off medication and leaving hospital was when it hit her.
“The week after that I was just being really angry. I have really gone through so many emotions.
“But to be here now and feel positive and wake up and not cry and feel happy and to know I will make a full recovery is really reassuring.”
Darcey has posted updates on her social media accounts to show that “life isn’t always sequins and tiaras” and said a visit by Miss World to her hospital bed was “an honour.”
The neck brace she has been wearing, even while sleeping, has caused some to stare when she is out and about which she admitted made her feel “self conscious”.
She said she also noticed a lack of disabled toilets when she was first out of hospital and needed to use them.
“That just wakes me up to what people who are disabled live with every day,” she said.
“So in a way I am grateful that it has opened my eyes up to the different realities of life which I haven’t experienced.
“It has been life changing. It’s woken me up to how thin the line between life and death is and just how short life is.
“Love, respect and appreciate the relationships you’ve got because you never know when they might be taken from you.”
Darcey will compete at the Miss World competition later this year, something she qualified for after winning the Miss Wales title last May.
“I will be a different person than I ever thought I would be standing on the stage at Miss World. I would love to win but I am just really grateful I can still go.
“I will just enjoy every single second.”