Slipping Through My Hands

Nicolette S

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It started as a normal day, a day just like any other. I was a rising freshman in college and I was starting to make new good friends, was doing well in school and got a new job. I was extremely content with life and wanted nothing to change. Unfortunately, one horrible decision would change and cast a shadow on my life forever. It was 2 A.M on a Saturday night. I was up with my friends binge watching episodes from our favorite television show. I was starting to get extremely drowsy and was starting to have a very difficult time trying to keep my eyes open. I turned to my phone to see the time to find that my younger brother, a freshman in high school, had texted me. He was at an out of control party where the kids were drinking alcohol and doing acts of violence. He could not drive and was mortified of telling our mother and father. Even though I could hardly stay awake, I did not want to leave him to fend for himself nor did I want him to call out of fear of us getting in trouble with our parents. Out of apprehension, I decided to give him a ride. My friends were leaving so I quickly said my goodbyes, got my keys and scrambled out the door. I knew that I was exhausted, but as soon as I fumbled into to the car, I started to feel like it was a major mistake. I was extremely unresponsive to my surroundings. I started to feel myself drift off as the car started skidding into other lanes and hitting the side of the road. I thankfully caught myself in a nick of time before crashing. I was nearing the site in where my brother was supposed to be waiting. He walked into the car to find me half asleep, leaning against my window. He shook me awake and asked me, his voice tainted with fear, to drive him home. I had a horrible feeling about driving, yet this little voice kept telling me ¨ It is only fifteen more minutes after all, what can go wrong.¨ I started the car and headed down the long and dark back roads that lead to our house. I was driving for approximately five minutes when I started to feel my eyelids and limbs get extremely heavy. Suddenly, my ears picked something up. It was the honk of another car’s horn and a blood curdling scream. My eyes jolted open to find the car collided with the car on the other lane. I felt the force course through me then everything went dark. I woke up to see myself in the hospital, severely injured. I was told that I wouldn’t be able to walk for at least 6 months, let alone live independently. I looked around in a frenzy. ¨Where is My brother?¨ I cried in panic. They told me the grave news. My life was spared, but his was not. I felt my despair wash over me. I would never see him or be with him ever again. As a driver, I had my life and his life in her hands, but I let them slip out of my hands. I permanently damaged mine, and lost his. There is never a day now in where I don´t think about him and where that accident did not impact my life. Every time you drive, you hold a life in your hands. As soon as you take charge behind the wheel, you hold your passenger´s life in your hands. A large portion of these accidents are caused by distracted driving. Drowsy driving is a form of distracted driving. While it is not as prevalent as texting while driving or getting distracted by other passengers, it still has a very profound affect. In fact, it is reported by the National Safety council that a person is three times as likely to get into an accident while driving drowsy. Drowsy driving is also the cause of 72,000 accidents, 44,000 injuries and 800 deaths annually according to the National Highway Safety Admission. Drowsy driving is preventable. Some ways to prevent it are to never drive when extremely tired, take naps or feel well rested before driving, having a buddy system during long trips avoid making long trips overnight and if feeling tired while out on the road, stop somewhere safe and take a short nap in order to feel more alert and rested. Always make sure to be alert behind the wheel. You can possibly get away with it once or twice, but the chances of a fatal accident occurring while drowsy is extremely high. With the responsibility of driving, you must be as alert as possible for you are carrying your own life, and the life of others, in your hands.