Distractions Are Just Not Worth It

Autumn P

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My lifelong friend was being rushed out of the hospital onto the helicopter pad on a gurney. His mom was cradling his bleeding skull. His eyes were closed, and no movement was evident. My mom and I watched as he was loaded onto the helicopter to be taken to the nearest children’s hospital as quickly as possible. How could this nightmare be really happening? Just a couple of hours ago, I was getting ready for bed, finishing my homework, getting ready for the next day, and telling him happy birthday. Then, my phone rang. Bradey had been in a terrible accident after baseball practice. My gosh, he was going into his senior year of high school!! He had veered off the road and landed on an embankment. He had been ejected from the vehicle and had laid there suffering for who knows how long. Finally, someone drove by the accident and saw his upside-down truck. His skull was crushed; he had broken ribs and broken limbs. How did this happen??? Over the next few months, he stayed at the hospital, undergoing numerous brain and skull surgeries. When we went to visit, he wasn’t able to talk or walk. He didn’t recognize me either. Now, over a year later, he can talk slowly and walk without assistance. But, he’s not the same. He may never be the same. Reckless driving, especially distracted driving, is dangerous. It can leave the driver and passengers severely wounded, changed for life, or even dead. The reckless driver has to live with the damage he or she has done. Driving while speeding, joyriding, eating, putting on make-up, texting, calling, or being sleepy must STOP. Anything that causes someone to lose focus on the road or to take his/her hands off the steering wheel is reckless driving and an endangerment to the public. I myself have been the victim of reckless and distracted driving. After attending one of my high school’s football games two years ago, I went to cross the street. As I walked across the street, I was struck by a distracted driver who didn’t see the police blockade. I flew over the hood of the car and landed between the front and back tires on the driver’s side. Fortunately, I was able to walk away from that accident with bruises and scrapes. It could have been much worse. My family and I have taken a direct and proactive approach to preventing distracted driving in teens. We have spoken to high school seniors prior to Prom night and to a group of local police officers about the damaging and life-changing effects of driving while distracted, at any age. We stressed the importance of always concentrating on where one is going, immediately and in the future. This type of proactive message is vital to spreading the message of how the mind processes problems much slower when focusing on multiple thoughts and activities. As a family, we will continue to spread the message. Automobile accidents are the #1 cause of fatalities in teens. One wrong move can change life for everyone involved in a vehicular accident. Even leaning down to grab a tissue can result in severe injury or death. While looking down for even a few seconds, the driver travels a large distance. During that time and distance, the driver can veer off the road, cross the yellow line, have a head-on collision, or hit a pedestrian. We must educate our teens that when driving, the focus should be entirely on the road and their surroundings. Distraction of any kind is just not worth it.