Scared Straight

Colleen G

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Every year when I was in high school, the seniors would attend a simulation of a car crash on the Friday before prom. This simulation was acted out by our school’s drama department. Each year, as that Friday approached, our teachers would show a story comprised of five videos; one for each day of the week. On Friday, the final video would conclude with two cars colliding into one another. There was a different scenario each year; drunk driving, texting and driving, or not wearing a seat belt. For my senior year, the simulation was about texting and driving. During sixth period, everyone in my senior class attended the simulation with great anticipation. was to go to the parking lot by the football field to attend the simulation. We all sat down on a set of bleachers and waited, In front of us was a large, green tarp covering up what we presumed were cars. Eventually, we heard the sound of tires screeching, and metal colliding through a set of loud speakers. The tarp was removed, revealing two two cars that had been totaled. They were placed close to each other to make it look like they had crashed into one another. One car belonged to the person who was texting, and the other belonged to the people she’d crashed into. Two drama students were in each car, covered in fake blood. This was already unsettling on its own, but my anxiety increased when I realized one of the victims was a friend of mine. I knew none of this was real, bu it was frightening to see my friend in such a state. To add extra effect, an ambulance, a firetruck, and several police cruisers arrived on the scene. The police questioned the girl who was texting, while paramedics tended to the two injured kids. The simulation concluded with the two kids dying, the driver being arrested for manslaughter, and a fake funeral for the victims with people speaking about them. Throughout the simulation, I couldn’t relax. Everyone on the bleachers could sense each other’s tension. We all knew it was all an act, but it felt so real. The sounds, the blood, the emotions in the heat of the moment, It felt like I was witnessing a real tragedy. The police explained this the simulation was, in fact, an all too common scenario. He told us that it was possible that a small percentage of my class would die the same way. I remember looking around at my peers, wondering who it would be, and hoping it wouldn’t be someone whom I cared about The principal concluded by telling us about last year, when the simulation was based on the scenario in which someone failed to wear a seat belt. He told a story about the previous year’s prom when a student survived an accident only because they wore a seat belt. The night of prom, someone got into an accident, and they told the principal that they were safe because they wore their seat belt. He told us that, every year, he said a prayer for his students, hoping that we would be safe during prom night. This lesson has taught me to resist looking at my phone when I’m on the road. I’m in my freshman year of college now, and, to this day, I still don’t look at my phone while I’m on the road. Even so, when I look out the driver’s side window, I occasionally see someone on their phone. It worries me that people do that and I believe that more should be done to discourage that behavior. I hope my friends and peers feel the same way.