A Choice Is Not an Accident

Jazmin A

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When you open and close your story a dozen times to see who’s viewed it, while behind the wheel, you make a choice. When you get salt on your fingers jamming those fries into your face on the road, you make a choice. When you grab your keys after a couple drinks, because it was “only a couple drinks”, you make a choice. When you sit on your seat belt because “it’s just around the corner,” you make a choice. All the while, in the back of your mind, you know it isn’t for the better. But that doesn’t matter, because nothing is likely to go wrong, right? The flaw in that mindset is that you acknowledge the odds of your habits resulting in fatal consequences, but you disregard that knowledge in favor of your habits, despite. That knowledge is what makes the difference between an accident and a choice. What’s worse is that reckless driving is associated with teenagers. It’s looked back on with fondness as another one of “those crazy things we used to do.” Reckless driving is not a rite of passage; gambling with the lives of oneself and those around us is not a part of growing up. It’s the result of a lack of understanding and gravity of consequences, as well as parental influence. Teenagers are impressionable, so what are they going to do when their parents drill them about unsafe driving habits while simultaneously practicing those very habits right in front of them? What do they think when, after learning of all the hurt and disaster that could result from easily preventable collision, their parents engage in the very behavior that leaves them vulnerable to it? “Just because I do it doesn’t mean you can.”, isn’t going to cut it. Preaching one thing and practicing the opposite is ineffective education, as well as plain carelessness. We live in a culture that views menacing dollar signs on a slip of paper as the consequence of reckless driving habits, rather than seeing them as serious threats to human life. When will we look past the tickets and realize that our finances aren’t the greatest thing at stake when we try to take shortcuts? The speed limit, the seat belt, and the glove compartment don’t just exist for the sake of being nuisances. They are tools that are useful in keeping ourselves and those around us safe, and we only will realize it when we learn to value human life over seemingly harmless distractions or “cheats.” When you step into the driver’s seat, you are the one in control. When you step into the driver’s seat, everything you do from there on and until you reach your destination should be for the purpose of keeping yourself and others safe. During this time, your phone has a place other than and away from your hand. Your seat belt has a place over your front and fastened, correctly. You should use your eyes to stay vigilant; not to let them stray towards whichever thing may be the end of everything for you, or for someone else. Driving isn’t a challenge to see whether or not you can make it from point A to point B without getting busted for your illegal behaviors, no matter how seemingly miniscule. When you turn on the ignition, you make a choice. Before you step into the driver’s seat, make sure that the only choices you are about to make are in the best interest of the safety of yourself and everyone else joining you, behind the wheel and in the passengers seat.