I looked with dread upon the wreckage I had caused. The car I had worked so hard for was nothing more than a crumpled tin can. I barely managed to crawl out of it . . . I didn’t even want to think what happened to my friends who were in with me. I hoped they were still alive. On the other side of the street, across the field of shattered glass and broken plastic, was the car I had run into, head-on. Somebody else’s work, someone else’s lives. My body was racked with pain from the bones I must have broken, but this paled in comparison to my inner turmoil. I felt nauseated, bewildered by what I had done, and how easy it was to cause it. The memories I had built with my friends over the years, the many hours we had spent laughing together, competing together, pushing through difficult times together, relaxing and going for long, fast drives together, with our windows down and music up… Gone. Reduced to nothing more than a statistic: 11 teenagers killed a day in a vehicle collision, 4000 per year, a small part of an expected value based off conditions and . . . All it took was a few moments of distraction. A glance at a text message or a funny post. A slight of hand, sending us into the opposing lane and I scream at myself, because was it really worth it? I could hear their voices echoing from somewhere else, telling me it was alright, begging me to forgive myself, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. There was no undoing this. I couldn’t just bring my friends, and those unfortunate strangers back to life like in a fantasy tale. If you’re reading this, don’t make the same mistake I did. Don’t play with lives for the sake of brief moments of fun. Maybe that way, your best friends will stay with you. Maybe that way, you can live with yourself. No matter how many laws are put up against driving distracted and recklessly, people will never learn. What it takes is awareness: to understand the pain that you’ll cause yourself and others if you make a mistake. Best case scenario, you wreck your car and with it your finances. Worst scenario, you’ll make a mess you’ll never be able to clean up. People need to realize that their distractions, the entertainment of the moment, is worthless compared to entire lives. The world’s changing though, and for the better. As computers grow smarter, it might just compensate for humans seemingly growing dumber. Cutting edge visual processing software is teaching cars how to drive, and someday self-driving cars will be on the road. Machines will never lapse in attention or hesitate in making a quick call. In the near future, they may even develop better common sense in driving than humans. Letting machines take over the basic functions of our lives is terrifying; it sounds like a sci-fi scenario out of the terminator. However, when email and then social media made writing letters completely obsolete, our world was changed for the better. Communication was sped up and globalization flourished. When machines take over driving, the streets will be safer, as less accidents lead to less deaths. Until then, though, we need to be aware of the effects of driving recklessly not just on a factual level, but on a visceral emotional level.