Safe not Sorry

Danica B

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On Friday, July 13th, 3 days after I turned eighteen, I saw a dead body. At approximately 10:00 pm that Friday, a 66-year-old male pedestrian was fatally hit by a 2008 Toyota Camry on West Orangethorpe in Fullerton, CA. Only a quarter of a mile away from my house, and 2.9 miles away from where I got pulled over for speeding. The driver involved with the incident was also a 17-year-old female. As I stood on the side of the street and looked on at the lifesize yellow bag, and the white Toyota that looked comparatively similar to mine, I realized that this could have been me. I could have been the one that recklessly took this man’s life. It seemed as if I was looking into a parallel universe, almost like an episode of the Twilight Zone where the various events and characteristics of my life were slightly shifted to have led up to this moment. Same street, same car make, same color, and the same age, the two of us shared numerous similarities within our lives. We share our youth, it is defined by our attitude, our behavior, and our actions, amongst the numerous similarities and differences between us we shared one specific foible that undeniably prompts these situations to occur. Our frontal lobes, the part of the brain that controls emotion, risk- taking and decision making, our relatively the same under a microscope. This part of my brain and the brains of my fellow young adults are currently developing, and have been doing so for our whole lives. The brain is a very complex system, an intricate layout of chemicals and electrical currents that work together to create the way that I talk, walk and even breath. Researchers have spent years studying the brain and continue to study the features that produce the unique people that walk the Earth. According to the US National Library of Medicines National Institute of Health, “longitudinal neuroimaging studies demonstrate that the adolescent brain continues to mature well into the 20s, ”scientists continue to study the development of the brain as some pinpoint the age of maturity 25 while others at 30 some even say 40. Furthermore, until I reach these various ages I will continue to make high-risk decisions, it is basically a fact. However, despite this, I can use my past experiences to help me to make better decisions each day. Each day I have the opportunity to be better than the previous, I have a clean slate, and the last thing I want to do is mar it with brand of immaturity. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to gain a greater understanding of my responsibility as a driver to both myself and those around me.