Know the Consequences
It took one second for the impact of the car to snap my neck and kill me instantly. Two minutes for the other passenger to bleed out on sudden impact. Three hours for my dad to get a call that would alter his life forever. Four days for my brother to shed his first tears after processing the death of his only sister. Five weeks before my mother could finally get out of bed on her own accord. Six months for my parents to divorce due to the constant fighting. Seven years for my boyfriend to love again. Yet, all this was caused by the eight seconds I took my eyes off the road to check the unimportant text of my mother reminding me to feed the dog. The text which not only ended my life but would lead to consequences for many others. The passenger who died, her name was Grace, and she was a 36-year-old mother of four, the eldest being eight. The eight-year-old girl who had to grow up too fast as she bore the burden of caring for her three siblings. In turn, Grace’s husband would be bitter for the rest of his life. He would never recover from the loss of his soul mate and would never experience love again. He would also sabotage any chance of a relationship with his kids as he saw them as a constant reminder of what he lost. That family lost everything within those eight seconds, yet would deal with the aftermath of the crash for the rest of their lives. As for my family, they were never the same. Though my parents eventually remarried, they always felt something was missing. Not a day went by when my dad didn’t think about me and the future I would never have. Some days he would just sit on his back porch and imagine what it would have been like to walk me down the aisle, or how painful it would have been to give me to another man. He would imagine a future where I went to college, became successful, and eventually had my own children. He always said it wasn’t fair for a parent to have to bury his child, and he lived out the rest of his life blaming himself for a situation he never had control over. My mom battled on and off with depression following my death and was never fully able to come to terms with it. There would be days where she could almost hear my voice complaining about how much calculus homework I had that night. It was those days that hit her the most. Every day she regretted sending that text, wishing that somehow that she could rewind and just feed the dog herself. So she would never forgive herself, even though she knew it wasn’t her fault. But as my parent, she felt the need to take responsibility even if it meant living with guilt for the rest of her days. To prevent distracted driving, you must understand the consequences. Because the truth is people will continue being reckless until they make the personal decision to be a defensive driver. Obviously, there are options like Driving Mode, but that will not happen unless the driver makes the conscious decision to do so. I hope this story has made you aware that you have the power to potentially affect not only you but many others on the road. So please, choose defensive driving. If not for yourself, then for your family, or potentially someone else’s family.