Phones Away!

Brian H

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Texting and driving impacted one of my friends and served as a wakeup call for me. Luckily, no one was hurt, and when my friend told me about her accident, it helped me become a better driver by serving as a vicarious educational opportunity. My friend, to whom I will refer as “Sue Donim,” a fitting female fake name, drove to pick up another friend – Rand Omname – so that they could enjoy a movie together. She relayed to me that, as she entered the neighborhood, she sent Rand one text to let him know that she had almost arrived, and so he should get ready. However, this started a short conversation between the two, and she says she felt like she would be indecent if she did not reply. As she was driving down the neighborhood road, which had many turns due to it winding around a central lake, she was focused on her phone and not paying attention to the road. She did not notice that she was veering off course until it was too late: she drove straight when the road reached a turn, which she only discovered when her front tires hit the curb, and she dropped her phone in surprise. By then, it was too late, and her car crashed into a mailbox. Even though her speed was around 15 mph, due to her vehicle’s momentum, the mailbox was ripped out of the ground. The car also suffered a gaping dent in its hood, but it absorbed the crash’s shock and she was unharmed. When she told me the story, she ended by telling me her major takeaway was to never text and drive. She says she prayed (she is a devout Christian) and thanked God for the fact that no one was injured, because she knows that the consequences would have been even worse had a pedestrian been hit. Sue also understood that she should never have sent Rand a message, because it was completely distracting and took her entire concentration away from driving. She felt sobered by the fact that she might have died if she drove into the lake, or potentially could have killed a pedestrian walking along the sidewalk. She tells me that her phone is always silenced in her car, so she is never tempted by a text or other distraction. I am very grateful for her courage and openness in telling me her story because it made me realize the dangers of texting and driving since it affected someone so close to me. I had previously never comprehended that texting and driving affected so many people, and I realized that I never really noticed other people texting and driving. After hearing her story, I signed a pledge with my parents stipulating that I would never text while driving. I have also become more observant to others around me who text while driving, after realizing that I must drive defensively and safely to account for the unknowns like others driving distractedly. Her experience ultimately helped both herself and me become better drivers.