Ms Leigh, from East Kurrajong in Sydney, said she'd barely had time to think when the animal leapt onto the street on October 2.
Instinctively, she swerved out of the way before "hitting some rocks and a street sign", narrowly avoiding a tree and eventually "crashing through a fence, right into a lady's front yard". With the entire ordeal taking place in a matter of seconds, Ms Leigh, 30, said she was left so stunned afterward that she unable to move or speak.
Remarkably, just minutes after the crash, emergency services arrived at the scene, including both police and paramedics thanks to a little-known iPhone feature she'd set up a year earlier.
Ms Leigh, then still in complete shock, said she hadn't even touched or seen her phone and it wasn't until she heard an "alarm sound" reverberating through her car that she realised it had been the one to call for help — an act she says very well could have saved her life.
Kangaroo causes carnage
"My car was quite smashed up," Ms Leigh told Yahoo News Australia. "And, you know, I didn't realise at the time but I had actually broken my back — though I wasn't in any pain straightaway.
"It sort of hit me after a few minutes and then I was just in absolute agony. I couldn't move, couldn't really talk, I couldn't do anything. I didn't know what was going on and I wasn't thinking about my phone at that point.
In a heartbreaking twist, Ms Leigh's dad passed away 10 years ago in a car accident. "Straightaway, I was thinking, 'I can't do this to my mum, she's gonna be beside herself if she loses a daughter the same way she lost her her husband,'" she recalled.
Hospitalised for over a week
Ms Leigh said that while she "wasn't able to talk or put sentences together," her phone — which identified that she'd been involved in a crash through an array of sensors including satellite technology and the device's microphone "called for help anyway".
She was taken to hospital and treated for a fracture to her L1 lumbar and, after a week and a half of recovery, was eventually able to walk again, only requiring a cane upon her release.
"The way that the doctors described it to me was kind of like I folded like a sandwich," Ms Leigh said. "With the seatbelt on, as much as they save your life, at the same time they can also do stuff like that."
Having bought her iPhone 14 a year ago, Ms Leigh explained that she was setting it up when she noticed the crash detection feature and "thought it was pretty cool".
Crash detection feature 'saves lives'
"I put some emergency contacts in and put in my medical ID and set it up. I never really thought about it again to be honest," she said. "It's been a year since I bought this phone and yeah, it wasn't until obviously the crash happened that I actually got to witness what that feature does — and it's just amazing."
Imploring anyone "that has access to it" to "set it up" Ms Leigh said "it could save your life one day".
"If I didn't have it set up, I don't know what I would have done," she said. "By the time it would have taken me to calm down, try and find my phone, call emergency services, that could have been detrimental to my my healing and whether I was able to walk again, you just don't know."
The Sydneysider said she was thankful for the woman whose home she crashed into for running outside and picking up the triple zero call her phone had started autonomously. She said that police had advised her she that was actually liable for damages to the property, due to a rule prohibiting drivers from swerving if they spot an animal on the road, though thankfully, the homeowner did not wish to press any charges.
The kangaroo in question survived to live another day. "I actually swerved and bloody missed the thing," she recalls.
To set up the feature on your iPhone
While the crash detection feature is turned on automatically on iPhones 14 and older, here's how you can check yourself to be sure.
Launch the Settings app on your iPhone.
Scroll down and tap through to Emergency SOS.
Under "crash detection," ensure the switch next to Call After Severe Crash is turned on.
iPhone users can follow Apple's further instructions here. Many other non-Apple devices include similar features.
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