Driving isn’t a game … but you can lose

As kids, our parents warn us of the folly in our behavior. “You’re not going to live forever, you know,” I recall my dad telling me whenever I did something risky. Even with this, as kids and more commonly as teens, we don’t listen to a word our parents say.

But to our dismay, we all have that defining moment when we realize we’re not invincible. Whether it comes quickly or passes slowly, we are all destined to have a moment where we are defined as who we really are: human.

This past summer, just after 9 on a Saturday night, I had my moment.

I was sitting at a red light on Dorothy Lane when the car behind me failed to stop. I was simply unfortunate enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Two totaled cars, one ambulance ride, six hours in the ER and over three months later, here I am writing this column, still in constant pain.

Taking that into account, think about this: A joint survey conducted in April 2009 by AAA and Seventeen magazine of 1,000 teens revealed that 61 percent of teens partake in risky behavior behind the wheel. Of this 61 percent, 50 percent text message while driving, 51 percent talk on their cellphones, 40 percent say they speed and 11 percent said they drink or use drugs before driving. Not to mention, on average, 10 teens die every day in vehicles either as the driver or the passenger of another teen driver.

The person who hit me wasn’t doing any of this, but he still hit me. So my plea is this, Fairmont: Pay attention while you’re driving. Driving is not a game, nor a race, nor something you do while you’re texting. It actually requires thought, precision and effort. Not only is your life at stake, those in your car and in the cars around you are all one mistake away from the ER.

So for those of you who think you are talented enough to multitask while you’re driving, you can’t. It’s impossible, so please don’t try.

All I’m saying is if you are choosing to not listen to your parents, then listen to me. You do not want to have your defining moment in the aftermath of a fatal car crash that was your fault.