It all Abruptly Ends
Humming along with the driving playlist’s melody buzzing over the car’s speaker, one hand casually rested on the wheel, mind in a far away place, thinking about to-do lists and future plans — with one text alert, her attention is diverted from oncoming traffic to the small, bright screen. It all abruptly ends. In an instant. The melody keeps on, quietly playing under rubble and debris from the crash. No one is there to hum along; soon the quiet void will be replaced with the aching sound of parents weeping. There are no more to-do lists, no more future plans. There is no future for her. Distracted driving leads to a wrecked and potentially fatal future. This scenario is all too common; though not all distracted, reckless driving is fatal, it can still lead to collisions or near collisions with major outcomes. It has become all too common to, while driving, text a friend ‘Sorry I’m running late. Be there soon,’ send a Snapchat or reply to a group chat; all of these could be easily answered after driving. Distracted driving goes far beyond just texting and driving, although that is a major problem. Distracted driving could mean becoming too engrossed in a conversation with friends that you forget to focus on the road. It could mean belting out the words to your favorite artists’ new release. It could mean lazy driving, looking at things off the side of the road. Distracted driving comes in many forms, which are unique to each individual, yet the results all have the potential to be detrimental. Luckily, it is easy to prevent crashes caused by distracted driving. Put your phone away. Turn it to ‘do not disturb,’ put it on silent, hide it out of sight. Whatever is needed to end the temptation associated with the ‘ding’ of a phone, do it. If you’re texting a friend, end the conversation before you start driving. If you’re meeting up with someone, let them know that you are on the way but won’t be able to respond while on the road. Additionally, focus — focus on the road, focus on the oncoming traffic, the road signs, other drivers who may be distracted. Don’t become a lazy driver, reckless or distracted driver. Action should be taken by our lawmakers to improve our safety while on the road. More states should make it illegal to be on a device while driving; in Indiana, it is illegal for anyone under 21 to be on a device and for anyone to text and drive, while in California it is illegal for anyone, no matter what age, to be on their phone. This acts as a deterrent, which is a vital way to prevent the tempation of checking a device. In addition to changing the law, in an effort to enforce the law, cameras could be installed, as they are in some states for speeding, to take photos of each car as they drive by. Those who are on their phones will be sent a bill for their ticket in the mail, which is tracked through their license plate number. These actions have become vital to end reckless, distracted driving. Honestly, what is more important? Posting on snapchat or your life? Texting a friend back or the life of another driver? Jamming out to your music or the life of a passenger? If you struggle with this, work profusely to end it. Work to hide away the distraction and end the temptation. Work to save your life and the people’s around you.
When friends have given me rides home before, we’ve been in near accidents because they were too distracted, changing the music, checking Instagram or talking to the people in the car. It’s scary. I wrote this essay to bring awareness to this problem. The statistics must change and distracted driving needs to stop.