This blog almost wasn’t here. I was running late with my writing (and my ideas) this week and as of Thursday morning, I still had not formulated a good solid idea for a blog. And then, on Thursday afternoon, I was in a car accident. Thank God, everyone was fine; nobody was seriously hurt at all. Thank God again that Abigail was not in the car but safe at home with her grandparents. The car itself didn’t fare as well, but the bottom line is simple- cars can be replaced, people cannot.
It made me think, though, about all the young ladies in our building; those studying driver’s ed for the first time, those who are making their parents nervous with learners permits, and those lucky seniors who have their driver’s licenses. I know they “know” all the rules; no cell phones, drive within the speed limit, buckle that seatbelt, eyes on the road at all times, stay focused…the list goes on. It’s the list my dad presented to me (well, except there were no cell phones then), when I got my license and took his car out for the first time. And the list was repeated more than once, and still is at times, even to this day. But, no matter how careful we are, no matter how safe we think we are driving, accidents still happen.
I was lucky; I got out and walked away. However, we’ve all heard stories of those who were not so lucky. There are people, each of us know I am sure, who have been hurt in an accident, who have suffered a loss because of an accident, whose lives have changed because of an accident. Teenage drivers feel that the entire world is before them. They are breathless with excitement at the fact that they can drive. It is a timeless moment, for them and for us- because it’s their first full taste of independence. It’s also their first taste of adulthood and so, they need to know the responsibility that comes with it.
So, I worry- for each young lady here at SDA and for each teenage driver who is out on the road. I see, even in the classrooms, where cell phones are not supposed to be out- the girls cannot resist taking a peek, checking that screen for an instant. What they don’t truly realize is, if they do that behind the wheel, an instant is all it takes for their lives to perhaps change forever. And it’s not just the cell phones- it’s the chattering with friends in the backseat, or changing the music that’s playing, or speeding up to get home in time for curfew…a million little things that can really cause damage beyond repair.
As I said, this blog was almost never written- I was just lucky that I was not hurt badly. Because accidents happen- even when we are extremely careful. What we all, us at school and parents at home need to impress upon the teens we see each day, is that, if accidents can happen when you are being very careful, imagine what could happen if you are being careless while driving? Talk to your daughters, and we will talk to our students, about what it means to be “old” enough to drive a car and how with that age comes responsibility.
And give your daughters that list of precautions my dad gave (and gives) to me. Even if they roll their eyes and toss their hair, impatient to go wherever it is they are heading- remind them every time to be careful, to be safe, and to be alert. Most importantly, tell them you love them. When these young ladies are old like I am, they will understand two key things- Accidents happen even when we are extremely careful and Parents worry about us because they love us and don’t want us hurt.
Stay safe on the roads, everyone.