School over Safety

Jacqueline C

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My alarm beeps loudly at me. I roll over to turn it off and realize I only have 20 minutes to get to school, and I live almost 20 minutes away. I needed to get going… I couldn’t be late again I would get a detention. I pull up my messy hair into a bun, grab my backpack, and make a quick stop at my fridge for an iced coffee before sprinting out the door to my car. It figures I would wake up late today of all days, I have a final first block. I stayed up very late studying for it and I had to pass it to even have a chance at passing my class, which I needed for graduation. I put my car in drive and pull out into the street forgetting to check if the road was even clear. Whatever, nothing hit me. I hit 50mph even though it’s a 35mph limit. I come to the end of my street to the main road, I take a quick glance before completely running the stop sign, in an attempt to make up for lost time. The speed limit on the main road was 40mph, I usually hit about 50mph just to keep up…. Today I was doing 55mph. It’s a one-lane each way road with no passing due to the steepness of the hill it ran along, so it gets annoying when people drive too slowly. I catch up to this big truck who was probably doing the speed limit. I took a peak around him and decided I was clear to pass him. I knew I wasn’t supposed to pass, but I couldn’t be late. I never saw the car slam into me. Everything happened in a blur, the spinning, the crashes, the screeches. There was a thud, and then blackness. I woke up days later. My parents were in the room with me, I couldn’t read their expression, a twist of grief and shock. My mom couldn’t look at me; she just started crying, my father held her. Awhile later a nurse brings an officer into my room. He details what happened. He said the eye witness was driving a truck when the red Toyota, my car, sped around him. The witness saw the SUV coming the opposite way and pulled into the shoulder. The SUV swerved but wasn’t fast enough. Both cars spiraled off the road in opposite directions. The SUV collided head first with a tree and the driver was ejected from the vehicle. The red car spun off the road and tumbled down the hill. The officers on the scene determined the driver of the SUV, a female aged 32, died on scene, and her two young children were both hospitalized and in critical condition. They found me in my car, no seatbelt, barely alive. They said I probably wouldn’t make it, 1 in 10 chance, I made it. I wished I didn’t. I never forgot that woman or her two kids. I think about it every day. I felt so guilty and I wished I had died in the accident myself, I could hardly function. I felt the only way to attempt to redeem myself was to prevent other kids from making the same mistakes I did. So I picked myself up and decided to spread my story to raise awareness. I share my story with kids to let them know just how dangerous driving can be when you don’t take it seriously. I hope you learn something from my story. Save a life. Be a safe driver.