A World Ahead

Shreya C

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I am seventeen and the entire world is at my fingertips. There are a plethora of opportunities that lay ahead of me with looming high school graduation. More than anything, I want to live long enough to see all of these possibilities come into fruition.

And yet, there are a multitude of ways it could all go awry, and one of those ways is distracted driving. I’ve recently begun to drive myself to and from school, and I’m learning that there are countless distractors that surround me, both inside and outside of the car. Within the car, my phone buzzes to alert me to new texts, music plays through the speakers, and my breakfast sits in the seat next to me waiting to be eaten. Externally, kids are zipping about on their skateboards, large signs provide instructions about the next highway exit, and the alarm of a nearby parked car rings incessantly.

If I give in to the temptation of seeing what my best friend messaged me, lean over to grab a bite of my breakfast burrito, or glance up to confirm exit 24A is 2 miles away, everything could fall apart within a matter of mere moments. I could crash into a kid who just darted onto the street trying to retrieve their bouncing-away basketball, begin to drift out of my lane and into the car beside me, or fail to stop at a red light at the correct time.

Every single one of these mistakes is preventable, provided I maintain the willpower to remain focused on my surroundings. I can turn my phone on silent, pause my music to listen to later during passing period, and wake up ten minutes earlier to finish my breakfast before I leave the house. I can remain vigilant for pedestrians, check Google Maps before starting my car, and trust that the ringing car alarm will indeed end. I must treat my fellow road-sharers with the utmost respect that I hope they will also show me in order to ensure that a minor distraction does not lead to a magnanimous crash. By doing so, I can live to see what the world has to offer me beyond the halls of high school.