About three weeks ago, I found myself at the center of a car accident; and as it turns out, everything unfolded in the DSHS parking lot. The accident could have been worse, and fortunately, it wasn’t a head-on collision, but it still was a huge wake-up call for not only the person who hit me, but myself as well.

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, in 2015 ,“one person was killed every 2 hours and 29 minutes” and “one reportable crash occurred every 61 seconds”. There were no deathless days on Texas roadways in 2015. These statistics are alarming. Every minute someone in Texas will get into an auto accident and possibly be injured or even dead.

When our parents tell us to drive safe or get off our phones or to just pay attention to the roadway, we all respond with the familiar groan of “I know”. But do we really know? Do we as teenagers have the ability to put the cell phone down or to look at the road when we are driving? We see so many things in the media about fatal car crashes and commercials about texting and driving (thanks to AT&T). However, we have to take it a step further and not just listen to the voices around us telling us to drive safe or stop texting and actually implement it into our daily lives.

You guys know what the roads are like in Dripping Springs. We drive down them five days a week to get to school. We know that morning rush hour traffic into town around 8:30-8:40 a.m. and the afternoon road blockage at 4:15 p.m. Numerous times, I’ve found myself driving home from school, and people are speeding and swerving in and out of lanes. Even in the parking lot after a mock trial meeting, I was still struck by a vehicle going around 40 mph in a parking lot. I’ve had friends and families get into even the smallest of accidents, like fender benders, etc., but it’s a burden no one should have to carry. Replacing car parts is so expensive for both parties, whether you were the victim having to get something on your vehicle replaced, or if now your insurance deductible will increase because you instigated the accident. How would you feel if you caused an accident that resulted in a fatality and a loss of someone’s life forever? Or if that person was severely injured – maybe even paralyzed? Unable to live or unable to walk or do normal human functions that as a society we take for granted? Think about that the next time you pick up your phone while driving.

My mom has had so many of her friends or her friends’ friends pass away because of reckless driving, drinking while driving, or texting and driving. I do not know if I would be able to live with myself if I instigated an accident that had the consequences of a fatality for someone else or if one of my peers or family members passed away. Lives are so precious, but at the same time, our lives are happening so fast, and time is moving so rapidly. It is crazy to think that in just one split second your life or someone else’s life could be taken away in an instant.

All in all, it can happen ANYWHERE, at any time. Stop thinking you’re invincible and stop thinking that if the cops don’t stop you on the road, your driving actions are not seen and therefore presumed as okay. Stop texting and Snapchat-ing, put the phone down and save that stuff for when you are not driving a moving vehicle. Don’t assume that everyone is following the rules and that everyone is going to be making the right choices. Stay alert and think about those consequences. I know I sure will from now on.

Written by Grayson Ruiz

Online Editor