Wake County has been suffering the past few weeks dealing with seven deaths, six of which were caused by car accidents. Aside from the six students, many others were left with non-life threatening injuries, but are faced with the trauma of lost friends and will never be as comfortable while riding in a car.
Students have been responding on Twitter with their prayers for the students’ families and words of inspiration. Ideas such as “living each day like it’s your last” and “tell everyone you love and appreciate them.”
Everyone knows car accidents could be deadly. What teens don’t realize is it could happen to them. No one knows when accidents will happen until it’s too late. However, there are things you can do to decrease your odds to be involved in one of these accidents.
I was one of those careless teenagers. “Nothing bad could happen to me,” I used to think. I was entering high school and being invited to drive with people, I felt cool. I didn’t want the driver to speed, but I wouldn’t speak up. The last thing I remember is leaving a friend’s house, the next thing I remember is waking up in the ER. This memory and lack of memory are the reasons I am an advocate for safe driving.
We are not immortal, our time on Earth is limited and this causes us to not want to ‘waste time.’ However, waiting to make a safe turn or driving 10 mph below the speed limit when it’s dark is not a waste of your time.
The accident involving Laura Yost happened at approximately 7 a.m. when the driver failed to yield a right of way. The accident involving Braden Rock also occurred around 7 a.m. when the driver, his sister, failed to yield before turning. A hit-and-run that killed a 13-year-old boy also occurred at 7 a.m. The driver turned himself in and claimed he didn’t think he could’ve possibly hit a child. Although a mistake, it doesn’t change the fact that he was rushing and failed to look at what he had hit.
One more accident that did not result in a death happened at, of course, around 7 a.m. A teen driver failed to stop for a stopped school bus and hit a middle school student.
There is an obvious trend amongst these accidents. Drivers are feeling rushed to the point of avoiding traffic laws. In the morning while trying to make it to school on time, teen drivers are more focused on avoiding a late pass than avoiding the chance of a life threatening accident.
“I’m sorry,” were the first words I was able to whisper to my parents as I woke up in the ER, bloody and confused. I know how dangerous a car can be. After being ejected over 75 feet from a vehicle, spending five days in the hospital, and spending each day since facing the consequences, I understand the severity of riding with someone who ignores the law. I am considered a lucky one.
Since the accident, I have driven with two people who are under 18. Right now as you read this article, I guarantee I am experiencing back and neck pain.
My friends were able to receive the same wake up call I did after they almost lost a friend. I’m sure the friends of the lost teens from these more recent accidents are taking the same precautions my friends and I do before riding with inexperienced drivers. The problem with this is, it shouldn’t take a deadly accident to understand stop signs and speed limit maximums are more than a suggestion.
The parking lot and the O’neal/Leesville intersection at Leesville are known to be unsafe–just because you have the right of way, doesn’t mean you could safely make your turn.
Molly Moore, assistant principal, said, “There are a few kids who peel out, kids flying [into the parking lot] coming back from lunch and switching lanes around the blind curve.” Many students are driving safe but that doesn’t keep them from being involved in an accident with an unsafe driver.
“I see kids not wearing seatbelts, putting on makeup while driving, riding in the truck bed, I’ve seen kids standing out of their sunroof. It is the little stuff that is just as significant,” said Moore.
It may seem ‘cool’ or ‘impressive’ to ignore the traffic laws, but if that’s ‘cool,’ I’d rather be lame. I can promise it is not worth the loss of your own life, the injuries, the injuries to others or the death of an innocent human.
In honor of Yost, Rock and all other victims of fatal car accidents– drive safely. Don’t pile friends into your car, yield or stop when called for even if you’re in a rush and never underestimate the chance of an accident happening to you or your loved ones.