From Distraction to Devastation
Here we go. Dogs in the car, my favorite song playing from the aux, pulling out of the driveway with my best friend in the passenger seat and my little sister in the back. Three dogs in the car, 2 labs and one chiwawa, who is sitting on my lap. We’re on the way to the dog park, its 15 minutes away, the same way we took yesterday, and the day before, and will take tomorrow. Bella, the dog on my lap loves attention. She only likes to sit on the drivers lap, no big deal I thought. I’ve done this 1000 times, why would this day be different. My friend requests her favorite song. I’m looking through my playlist but I can’t find it. It will only take a second. I find it and see that my mom texted me. My friend starts singing and I glance up at the empty back road in front of me, Mom said, “text me when you arrive so I know you got there safely.” Oh my god she is such a helicopter mom and I roll my eyes. I drive this every day, it’s always fine. Why is it such a big deal every time. We are 10 minutes away and I go to change the song again. I hear my sister yell, “WATCH OUT!” as I cross the centerline into oncoming traffic. We crash head on with another car. The airbags go off. I vaguely hear my sister in the back calling 911. My body hurts so bad I can’t move to look at her. My best friend is breathing spastically from pain. Bella isn’t moving at all. All I can do is look ahead and I see the car that we hit off to the the side in a ditch. The driver lays motionless over the wheel. My mom never received a text from me saying I got there. Instead she received a call from the police saying come to the hospital, your daughter is in the ICU. My younger sister is sitting in a chair when I wake up with a cast on her leg and I ask about my best friend. She died from the crash. I was looking for music and she died because of it. I ask about the other vehicle and they died on the scene. I wanted to listen to better music and it cost two lives. “What about the dogs,” I said, and they told me that bella died from the impact of the airbag, and the other two are badly hurt. I found out later that the other driver was on their way home to their 12 year old. That child will grow up with one less parent now. My friends parents lost their daughter. My sister is badly hurt. I am hurt. Bella died. My mom will never forget today, I will never forget today. I’m just another statistic, just another sad story that adds news. Distracted driving kills. Keep animals safe in the back seat properly restrained by a dog harness meant for traveling by car. Create a playlist so you do not feel the need mess with the music. Keep the music at a reasonable volume. Stay aware of the road. Remember that driving distracted put other drivers at risk, not just you and your passengers. The cashier at the store, your teachers, your friends, your family, your pet, and many more people would be affected by your death so make the choice to stop drive distracted and start making a difference.
As a dog owner I knew I wanted to include dogs in the distracted driving to show the dangers of improper transportation. I also wanted to address the lack of care that is taken specifically among young drivers when they are traveling their normal schedule or to and from very familiar places. This piece takes from person background of driving with my sister, although we have never gotten in a crash, it augments the dangers of distracted driving.