You wake up one day; it is just like any other school day. “Time to get ready! Hurry up! Come on! Let’s go!” yell your siblings. You have to drop off your three younger siblings before heading to your high school. A notification pops up on your phone. No time now; have to get ready. “Ok, everyone into the car!” you yell. Your siblings pile in: one up front with you, the other two in the back. You start the car. Another notification. You pick up the phone. Oh, it is just a friend’s morning post. You back out and head on your way. The two siblings in the back start fighting. “So loud, unbearable, must turn up music,” you think. Another notification. “Did you hear?” The music is so loud you can’t hear the car passing you. “Hear what?!” you reply as you start changing lanes. The music is so loud you can’t hear the car honking at you that they are right next to you. “You’ll never guess!” the reply came in. The music is so loud you can’t hear your siblings screaming in terror that there is car. Darkness. The texts keep coming in… “I can’t wait till you can see my new dress that I’m wearing.” “Where are you?” “I thought you were close” “Why aren’t you here?!” “Are you ok?!?!?!?!?!” Steady beeping. You slowly open your eyes. Everything is foggy. A nurse comes in. “Oh, you’re awake. You know you are lucky that you’re alive. Your seatbelt saved you.” Everything is starting to come back to you despite the searing pain in your head. You remember the feel of the seatbelt digging into you as you lose control of the car. You don’t remember what happened next. “Wait, are my siblings ok?” you ask in a panic. “Um,” the nurse hesitates. You look with desperate, pleading eyes at her. “Maybe you should wait for your parents to tell you.” “No, I have to know. Are they ok?” “One of them has only whiplash.” That was the sibling who was in the backseat on the right side, away from the crash. Thankfully, he had his seatbelt on. “Another one has a broken arm, clavicle, and two ribs.” That was the sibling in the back seat behind you. Thankfully, she had her seatbelt on. “Um,” the nurse takes a deep breath. “Your other brother is dead.” You stare at the nurse with disbelief and horror. “No, it can’t be. He was on the left side,” you gasp out. “He had his seatbelt on. Wait, did he? I don’t know. I didn’t look,” you think to yourself. “He was thrown through the windshield.” “If only I had made sure everyone had their seatbelt on,” you think. “If only I had turned down the music.” “If only I had asked my siblings to be quieter so I could focus.” “If only I had waited to look at my phone.” “If only I had focused on my driving.”
The impact of distracted driving might not seem like a big deal. You are only pulling away your attention from the road for a second. In that second, a million different things could happen that could require you to react to avoid an accident. There are so many things that can distract you. They can wait. They will be there later. Your life might not be if you are distracted.