What if you could go back in time?
There is glass shattered on the pavement, crunching underfoot as the paramedics and firemen race forwards, towards two crumpled cars in the middle of the road. One of the cars is tipped on its side, the family within all still and unmoving. The driver of the other vehicle, face streaked with tears, rocks back and forth as she says to the policeman, “It was only a text.” A car alarm sounds repetitively, yet it is masked behind the sounds of the commotion. What if you could go back in time? The shards of glass rise from the ground and fly backwards towards the cars. They weave themselves together, returning from the windows in which they originated. And then the cars themselves are moving. The first is raised from its side and rolls back onto its wheels. They recede backwards from each other, the metal of the two cars unfolding from where they had crumpled around each other. The car alarm quiets once again. The family members in one car begin to move again, their injuries and bones weaving themselves back together again. A baby cries in the back seat. The young driver of the other car’s phone flies back into her hand from where it had fallen, her text message still unsent on the screen. She begins typing once again as the car begins to move backwards along the road. Now she is laughing, her eyes focused on her screen, reading the message she had just received. The car flies backwards down the road, around the corner going 70, then 60 miles per hour. The young driver sets her phone down on the seat next to her once again, and then the screen goes black. She had not yet received the text message that changed her life. The text message that destroyed her dreams for the future and devastated the lives of another innocent family had not yet been sent. Her car continues to drive backwards down the highway, returning to the speed limit she had been driving at originally. The stereo plays softly, and she sings along to a catchy song. Her eyes are now focused on the road ahead of her once again. Time stops rewinding, and the world resumes its forward motion. She is driving down the road on a sunny Friday afternoon, and a few miles up ahead another family is doing the same. Glancing quickly at her phone lying on the seat next to her, the young girl decides it’s better to put it away in the center console of the car. She is, after all, a newly licensed driver, and it’s much safer not to have any distractions lying around. She is happy, relaxed, and focused as she drives, looking forwards to spending time with friends later that day. She keeps her eyes on the road ahead of her and pays careful attention to the speed limit. This time, when she hears the familiar beep of her phone signaling a new message, she will not answer it. No text is more important than her life or the lives of the other innocent drivers on the road that afternoon.
This is a story about a text message and the disasterous effects that one message can have on innocent lives. It is never too late to make better choices in the future, and it is never too late to chose to be a safe driver. In reality, we can not go back in time, which is why it is crucial to prevent crashes before they happen. The choice to put down a phone, focus on the road, and be a safe driver is a choice that we often don’t notice the results of. It is impossible to distinguish al the times that choices like that have saved our lives, but it is the times that people fail to make those safe decisions that are unforgettable.