Imagine you are having one of the best days you’ve had in a long time. The sun is shining bright. The warmth of it beating down on your face. The wind gently blowing. You are going to meet with friends you haven’t seen in a long time. Everyone is excited. You get in the car and start to head to your favorite restaurant to meet everyone. On the way there, imagine you are in a head-on car accident. Your little red Toyota corolla crushed like a coke can. The hood smashed up, the broken shards of glass all over the inside of the car and all over you. You are trapped inside. You look over and your best friend is halfway through the windshield. A good day has suddenly turned into a tragedy. What happened?!
This image can speak volumes. Drunk, tired, and distracted drivers are involved in accidents every day. The number of accidents is growing at an alarming rate. The number of distractions is growing as well with all the technological advances in vehicles. They range from text messages, phone calls, radios, passengers, GPS devices, putting on makeup and even eating. It seems as if drivers are doing everything except driving. It only takes a moment, a split second, to be distracted.
The cell phone that just fell into the floor that we think is so important. What if it rings while it’s down there? What if someone text me? We have come to an age in which we feel totally helpless without out phones. Even to point of being crippled without it. We can even think about anything else until we have that phone with us. We get so distracted over it.
Everyone, has in some way, been affected by such an incident. We have all either been directly involved or know someone who has, in an accident. Think of the image again. Now image that being a total stranger. You were out at a party and just had a drink or two. Or perhaps you just glanced away for a second to answer that text message and the next thing you know you’ve been in an accident. Now look again. The person, the girl on the hood, image that was your mom, daughter, sister, or someone really close to you. What have you done? Could this really happen to you? To me? The answer is yes. The sad reality is it could happen to any of us.
In my work as a critical care paramedic, I have seen hundreds of car accidents. The cause ranging from driving while intoxicated to being distracted, or even just driving while too tired. The one thing I’ve heard repeatedly is regret. Regret over looking at the phone or driving while tired. They all seem to have think it couldn’t wait until they got pulled over or to their destination, but mere minutes later, they seem to have changed their minds about it. Filled with the emotions and impact of what has just taken place.
With all the distractions also comes repercussions. The repercussions can be overwhelming. The accident may not have even been your fault, but you may the collateral damage. You may receive injuries that may lead to lifelong issues. Now think about how it might be if you were the cause. Perhaps even haven taken someone life in the accident.
There are so many ways to get distracted. Driving while distracted, under the influence, or just being tired can all wreak havoc on your life. At the end of the day, was the phone call or text message that important? Could the radio station have been waited another minute? Wouldn’t your passengers rather arrive safely than to spend the next couple days or even months in the hospital recovering from their injuries? These are the questions we must ask ourselves. These are the questions we hold the answers to. The answers, our actions to the questions, will make all the difference in the world.