If Only

Lillian K

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December had just arrived, and it was quite cold. With the sun long gone, there was no light shed on a random back road besides two headlights that were as bright as they could go. It was late as a young girl, who had just turned seventeen, drove two young girls home. She had been babysitting them while their parents went out for a special evening. The girls had just spent the past hour and a half playing at a park. It was a good end to their fun day together. The youngest of the two was fast asleep while the oldest was slowly dozing off. Soft music was filling the car and the driver hummed along. The girl’s parents would be back in about half of an hour. That gave the babysitter plenty of time to get the girls home and in the bed. They were about five minutes out when the babysitter noticed that she had a text message. She glanced down and saw that it was the girls’ parents. She looked around as she drove. The road she was on was never busy at this time and sure enough her car was the only one on the road. She liked to think of herself as a pretty good driver. After all, she had never been in a wreck that was her fault. She decided to read the text and make sure it was not anything important. She does her best to never text and drive, especially when she has passengers riding with her. She checked the road again and there is no one behind or in front of her. The text read that the adults were on their way back. She decided that sending a simple ‘ok’ would not do anyone any harm. She typed the ‘O’ and glanced up. When she did, she saw two glowing eyes staring right back at her. She panicked and swerved to the right. She heard a scream and then nothing. After what seemed like an eternity, she cracked one eye open. She could not remember what happened. Something was on fire. It slowly started coming back to her. It looked like she had hit a tree. She noticed that she was numb. Looking down, she saw that her legs were crushed under the wheel. She remembered the scream. Was it her that screamed? She, then, remembered the two little girls in the back. She tried to turn her head. She felt a sharp pain that engulfed her entire body. She tried to ignore it. She managed to crane her neck and look at the back seat. She saw two little bodies lying limp against their car seats. She screamed. And then once again, all went to a peaceful black. Was the risk really worth it? Even the tiniest distractions that seem harmless are more dangerous than teens realize. The solution is simple. Eliminate those distractions before getting on the road. If one cannot fully eliminate those distractions, then they need to be self-aware of what they are, so they know just how to tune them out while driving. If only the girl waited. If only she pulled over to send the message. If only it was not too late to change things. If only… It is not too late for you. Take advantage of that.