highways and hindsight

highwayEvery Fifteen Minutes has impacted me more than I could have imagined. Four days after the event was conducted at our high school, and the images of (fake) blood, shattered window glass, and a staged funeral are still as vivid as they were on Wednesday. This event led to multiple meaningful and insightful conversations with students and faculty, and even family members. It deeply affected me, as I know it has for many others; and I am so grateful it has struck a cord- it NEEDS to.

Highway driving can be so enjoyable and just plain fun. But I have recently been repeatedly reminded of how dangerous it can be. Car crashes, posted articles, young deaths. Last week, I was nearly in a head on collision, heading northbound on highway 101 when a vehicle driving southbound landed in my lane. Β For reasons unknown, the driver plowed through the median area filled with flowers and soil, causing a dust cloud. Before I could even process what was happening, I witnessed the car flip at least once, roll, and land tire-side, facing me, in my lane. I was lucky enough to have seconds to react and respond, pulling as far right on the highway as possible, and dialing 911 not knowing the extend of injuries. I was close enough to see airbags deploy; it was beyond terrifying. I still do not know how the driver and possible passengers are doing, but I wonder every day.

So today, as I traveled from LA back to Paso, I was sobered and reminded that those driving in front, behind, and beside me are someone’s mother, father, brother, sister, or friend. They all have a story of their own. Let’s commit to being considerate, concerned, engaged and alert drivers every time we get behind the wheel. Let’s commit to making our highways safer. No distractions, no texts, no posts or updates; no phone calls or fiddling with the GPS. It all can wait. And if it can’t, commit to pulling off the road. PLEASE. There is nothing more important than arriving at your destination safely- NOTHING. A traffic ticket or accident or collision will take longer than the 5 minutes saved by multitasking while driving. It’s just not worth it.

Some “accidents” truly cannot be avoided. But so many can. If you are over 21 years of age, have a designated driver. Enjoy beverages responsibly. Commit to driving sober.Β As the woman from Every Fifteen Minutes said about driving under the influence, distracted driving is also a choice. They are not “accidents” that occur due to alcohol or distracted driving; they are collisions, as it all stems from a choice. Choose safety today, for all of us.

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