We Can Change It All
Death is something you never get over. It changes you, especially if you know it could’ve been prevented. Deaths from distracted driving fit in this category. My cousin’s best friend died because of a distracted driver. So did my boyfriend’s childhood buddy. Sometimes, I can tell how much it haunts them that the deaths of their friends could’ve been prevented. They were real people, with real lives and real dreams. All it takes is one slip, one text, one drink, one episode of road rage, one careless action, one second, one blink of an eye, to change someone’s life forever. So what can we do, as people who have experienced, felt the pain, or seen someone else’s over this issue? Three simple things to apply in our everyday lives can help. One: Think. “Is this really in my best interest? Would this hurt someone if they knew about it? And would my choice have any severe or lasting consequences for me or for someone else? ” If any of these boxes are checked, stop. Put down the drink, shut off the phone, calm down. Don’t do anything that could lead to regret. Be responsible and safe. Two: Breathe. Don’t take the chance of passing road rage onto others. In fact, if someone is deeply upset to the point of carelessness, maybe avoiding driving at all is the best option. If you’re angry with your best friend for spilling a secret, driving while still seeing red isn’t safe. It can cause reckless decisions, and even if someone feels like they don’t care at the time, they most likely will eventually. Three: Speak up. If Dad is on his phone while driving 60 miles an hour, gently ask him if he needs a text to be written for him. If Mom is hassling with children’s needs with one hand on the steering wheel, try to help her get something she needs. Remind them that such behavior is risky, and that it’s uncomfortable to be unsafe. If we want distracted and careless driving to end, we have to go out and fight for the end of it. If we talk about how we feel about it, chances are that many people will agree. Other people want these casualties to end as much as you and I do. We have to be the spark that lights the fire. If we’re not the spark, who will be? All it takes is one person to begin a tsunami of change; we––this new generation, and the generations before and after us––can be the people that change reckless and distracted driving tragedies. We can’t change the deaths that have already occurred, no matter how hard we try or wish we could. But we can do our very best to stop similar deaths from happening later on, and in doing so, we can change the future for better.