The Choices We Make
Sixteen was supposed to be amazing. She just looked away for one second. A split second to change a life, to change multiple lives, to change her life. She didn’t expect it to end that badly. Truthfully, she didn’t expect it to end badly at all. It was just two letters to respond “ok”. So why did it have to end like this? He couldn’t get his wife’s car dirty but a snack wouldn’t hurt anything right? Wrong. He bent down to pick up a cracker and when he sat back up he was sailing through a red light. It was too late to stop now. Too late for him and for the car he crashed into. She closed her eyes as her husband drove her and their newborn baby home but they won’t arrive. Her husband, sitting in a wheelchair with tears running down his face, tells her they were in an accident. A 35 year old man ran a red light. He died on impact along with their baby. He’d been pretty awful to his parents before he left for college. He was waiting for them to arrive so he could apologize but instead he received a call. His parents had been fifteen minutes away and were hit by a teenager who was texting. She survived but his parents didn’t. Two letters for two people. She had been driving everywhere since getting her license. Her phone buzzed and she reached to pick it up but stopped short. She remembered a presentation given at school about texting and driving. The amount of people who died from accidents was unbelievable and she wasn’t going to join that statistic. It could wait. He was on his was to surprise his wife for her birthday but he was starving. He looked around for a snack but he pulled his hand back…empty. He remembered how his father told him about his accident. He slowed at a yellow light and vowed he would never be distracted by eating in the car. On the drive home all she could do was be grateful for her husband and for their newborn baby. They pull up to their house and just inside the door waited food prepared by loving family. She was so ready for this new part of their life to begin. So they stepped inside the door and began their life. He had a whole weekend planned for his parents, starting with an apology. There’s a knock on his door and he opens it to be engulfed in a hug. There were tears from all of them. The weekend went better than planned and there would definitely be more visits. He is so grateful it ended this way. Distracted driving is a danger to people everywhere. It is so common among drivers to do the things we would at any other time during our day, but while driving, these everyday things become deadly. Drivers think “that could never happen to me”, and “I’m always careful”, but it doesn’t matter. Distracted driving should never be tolerated. Awareness needs to be raised to prevent this epidemic. It is so simple to sit down and have a conversation with a child, friend, or even a parent or other adult about the reality of distracted driving. Presentations can be given to schools and real stories can be told by victims, families of victims, and survivors of accidents caused by distracted driving. The choices you make while driving can change lives forever and these simple things can remind people to not drive distracted.