A BARNSLEY dad who spent five nights in hospital and suffered ‘serious injuries’ after a drink-driver collided with him whilst travelling the wrong way up the A1 has called on motorists to not drive and drive over the new year period.

Matthew Arnold, 39, from Brierley, was travelling to work when the collision happened in the early hours of New Year’s Day earlier this year.

He was unconscious when emergency services arrived at the scene, was trapped in his vehicle, and had to be freed before spending five nights in hospital.

Matthew suffered an array of injuries - including spinal fractures, a broken left arm and foot as well as a separated bowel.

He’s now sharing his experience to support a campaign to help save lives and prevent avoidable ‘life-changing’ injuries’.

“I fully support the national campaign to tackle drink and drug driving and hope it makes people think twice about taking risks,” he said.

“Because of the actions of a drink driver, I have been unable to return to work and still face many challenges to overcome my injuries.

“I walk with a stick and am reliant on my wife Laura to help me to get dressed.

“I hope that by sharing my experience, people will leave the car at home and do the right thing when it comes to using our roads safely.”

Earlier this year, the driver involved in Matthew’s case was jailed for 15 months and banned from driving for three years.

He had previously pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving and drink-driving.

Matthew added: “The collision happened so quickly.

“One moment I was driving to work as normal and then the next thing there were headlights coming towards me.

“I didn’t have time to react.

“At that moment, I knew life wouldn’t be the same again.

“I’ve never experienced such pain and fear. When people talk about life flashing before your eyes, I now understand how that feels.

“Once in hospital the full realisation of the seriousness of the situation really sunk in.

“In some ways I felt lucky to be alive, but I was worried about what the future would hold, how would I be able to work and provide for my family.

“Leaving hospital and returning home was just the first part of my recovery.”

Kelly Lingard, serious injury lawyer for Irwin Mitchell, has helped Matthew and his family access ongoing specialist support, therapies and rehabilitation as well as substantial interim payments to help fund his recovery.

She said: “Matthew’s case vividly highlights how the serious injuries people suffer in collisions not only greatly affect that person’s life, but also the lives of their family and friends.

“Understandably the last few months and coming to terms with physical and psychological impact of the collision has been incredibly difficult for Matthew and his loved ones.

“As a devoted husband and dad, Matthew feels devastated as his return to work is uncertain during the recovery from the serious injuries he sustained.

“While he’s starting to make progress in his recovery through access to rehabilitation, Matthew still faces many challenges to overcome his injuries the best he can.

“We continue to support Matthew and his family to help Matthew maximise his recovery.

“We hope what happened to Matthew acts as a warning to the consequences innocent road users can be left to face because of the dangerous actions of others.”