As you sit here and begin to read yet another to plea to prevent and ultimately end the tragic deaths of the lives ripped from the windshields of an unexpected collision, I want you to do the simplest, easiest thing for me: imagine. Sit here in this moment and as you read this article in your safe confines of wherever you presume to be, imagine waking up on what you believed to be an average day with no agenda set in particular.
It is 12:13 p.m. when you finally decide to leave your home, gather your things, and step inside your tiny red coupe — the coupe where you experienced so many wonderful memories. The coupe where you may have spent your days with your first love, your first kiss. The coupe you may have driven your family in, where there will forever be snacks wedged in between the seats from the tiny hands of your children, which you and the love of your life raised. Or maybe the coupe you drove to your junior year of high school every day hoping you had a good enough playlist for you and your friends to dance to on this cold wintry morning.
After sitting for a few moments warming up your car, you decide to shoot a text to your mom, letting her know you will be stopping by for the day. You haven’t had that much time to see her due to your recently booming life. When your little old red car finally gets to a semi-warm condition, you creep your way down the slope of your icy driveway.
Finally embarking to the outskirts of town and merging onto the highway, you feel a buzz come from an unknown location in your car and realize your phone managed to find its way in between the driver seat and the console. Managing to keep your eyes barely above the view of the steering wheel and blindly grabbing for your phone, you snag it and pull it out from between the seat.
Now that you finally grabbed your phone in those few seconds, you put it back down to focus on the icy road and safely make it onto the highway when you glance to your left and see a car driving right at you. Staring into those bright headlights everything slows down around you and the only thing you can think of is death. This is my time, I am going to die today.
Spinning out of control, screaming at the top of your lungs, making your throat go raw you slam into the guardrail and project out of the windshield, feeling the breaking of your bones and the crunch of your skull hitting the cold wintry pavement. You are choking on your own blood, your body convulsing in pain, screaming and gagging on blood, shouting, I’m sorry mom. You are left cold and alone dying on the pavement wondering why this has happened to you. A sense of serenity overtakes you as the pain slowly slips away and blackness shortly follows.
The person who hit your tiny red coupe was on the phone sending a text message that easily could have waited. She managed to make it out alive and leave the scene with a mild concussion, a smashed phone, a full recovery, and a lifelong sentence of guilt.
This driver was only 17 years old. She had her whole life ahead of her and just ripped one away from someone else.
Imagine being this other driver being the one to rip the life away from others so carelessly. Having to spend the rest of your miserable existence regretting looking down for what seemed to be two seconds, ultimately murdering someone so innocent and undeserving.
Two months later this 17-year-old girl is found lifelessly swinging from her ceiling fan. So hung up in her own guilt she couldn’t handle the pain anymore. Couldn’t handle the fact she took priority of a text message over someone else's life.
That one text, that one meaningless text, is not worth your life. It can wait.
Editor's note: Journalism students at Delaware Valley High School, like junior Kailee Dreher, are producing editorials and editorial cartoons to raise awareness of a dangerous practice injuring hundreds of thousands every year — distracted driving. Other entries in the series: "Is it worth it?" by Ally Smith: http://bit.ly/2iBqCcE. "This is how it feels" by Vanessa Paolella: http://bit.ly/2jnpacK.