The Choices You Make
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Just a normal day on the road Headed to class, the store, the coffee shop Unsuspecting, never thinking That it could really happen to you. Body in the car, mind someplace else Eyes now on the street, now the phone, now the radio In a hurry and never thinking That these moments could be your last. The choices you make aren’t just about you. Your father and mother, your siblings and friends, Aunts, uncles, grandparents They know you, they care They’ve poured their lives into you Been there since your first giggles and steps They’re letting you go They’re helping you fledge, But now it’s up to you to decide. Both hands on the wheel Eyes straight ahead You’ve done this a thousand times You know how to drive. Just a glance at the phone The roads are familiar Just one moment to rummage around for a snack “Nothing will happen.” “It’s not a big deal.” The car swerves off the road Or crosses the line Even though “just a second” was supposed to be fine. Now you’re hurt–or you’re dead. It’s over for you. But what of the damage that you’ve left behind? Hospital bills, court, a totaled car Far worse are the wounds in your family’s hearts Lives forever changed, a hole deep inside They trusted you But you made the wrong choice. The choices you make don’t affect you alone. It can get out of hand You are not in control Of anything else It’s just YOU you command You need to be disciplined. Say “no” to right now You’re driving–stay focused Your life is precious Are you really too busy to think it all through? How you drive matters So put the phone down Turn the radio off Or get used to its sound ‘Til your vehicle stops. Give one hundred percent to the task at hand Things don’t always go according to plan But the risk is so high If you don’t play it safe If you make the wrong choice It might soon be too late.
As a fairly new driver, all the warnings of my parents and driving instructors are still fresh in my mind, but that doesn’t mean I am not tempted to think I can handle a little distraction. As I have grown in confidence as a driver, I feel the tug of the radio, the snack in my backpack, and my phone in my bag. Driving along doing nothing can become monotonous–until something unexpected happens. There are so many variables out on the roads that we cannot control, like the actions of other drivers, weather, or engine trouble; not to mention, we do make mistakes. That’s why it is crucial to pay attention when driving. We never know if the choice we make in allowing ourselves to become distracted will lead to disaster. I wrote this poem out of my love for my family with my mind full of memories of the very real distractions that have enticed me while driving. A few times, I have glanced away from the road to try and retrieve my snack or water bottle from where it fell as I rounded that last turn–and have been shocked at how quickly I started to swerve. Thankfully, I was alone on a wide road, but it may not always happen that way. A moment of honest thinking is all it takes for me to realize that I’m not a perfect driver and I need to stay focused on what’s happening around me. Surprisingly, people often lack the self-discipline to step back and think through all the potential consequences of distracted driving. What we do affects those around us and not just ourselves. Every time I force myself to think about how heartbroken my parents would be if I wrecked because I was distracted, I feel so scared and saddened that I am motivated to drive with the utmost care. All that’s necessary to stop the problem of distracted driving is self-control. I hope that my poem inspires others to take a moment and realize the significance of the choices we make.