A Riverton college student says she survived a rollover crash in late September because she was wearing her seat belt.

Kierra Muehler is featured in a news release from the Wyoming Department of Transportation highlighting the importance of buckling up for every trip.

"I know the main reason for me being alive today is the fact that I was wearing my seat belt," Muehler, a student at Central Wyoming College, says in the release.

According to WYDOT, Muehler had plans to attend a leadership retreat in Lander. She left her home in Riverton on Sunday, Sept. 24.

"The next thing I remember is being hit with the airbag and hanging upside down in my car," Muehler told WYDOT. "I was told that I somehow unbuckled my seat belt and climbed out of the back window of my car. The next thing I remember I was in an ambulance with my mom heading to the hospital.

Muehler had been southbound on Wyoming 789 when a deer walked into the roadway, Wyoming Highway Patrol Trooper Eli Miller told WYDOT.

"The driver panicked and turned the car to the right. The car over-corrected and began to slide out of control," Miller wrote in his report. "The driver missed the deer. The vehicle slid off the road to the right, rolling driver's side first. The vehicle rolled over and came to a stop on its top."

Miller's crash report verifies that Muehler was wearing her seat belt, according to WYDOT.

Muehler was taken by ambulance to SageWest Health Care in Riverton. After several hours, she was released from the hospital with bumps and bruises.

"They were very surprised I made it out of the car alive, let alone without any broken bones," Muehler said of her conversation with investigating officers.

Surviving the crash wasn't just a stroke of luck -- Muehler always wears her seat belt.

"My parents always made sure I was wearing my seat belt when I was little, and it just became a habit for me. It's the first thing I do when I get in my car," Muehler told WYDOT. She also requires her passengers to wear their seat belts.

"A lot of my friends get annoyed when I tell them to put on their seat belts. They know I won't move the car unless they are wearing them," Muehler said.

"Looking at the pictures of my car and seeing how it was after it flipped makes me so grateful to have been wearing my seat belt," Muehler added. "You never know what's going to happen, so you should always try to be prepared."

"Taking five seconds to put on your seat belt can end up saving your life," Muehler said.

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