A Driver’s Decision

Ivann - Clinton, Tennessee
Entered on November 26, 2013
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I bought the car I had always wanted on August 26, 2011. On December 3, three months after purchasing it, I had an accident. It was a chilly, bright, midmorning. I had volunteered to do a service project at my church filling food bags for the poor. I was leaving the church, when my friend, Nick, asked, “Could I get a ride because my parents are busy?” I knew he lived close by so I responded, “Sure, why not?” We went to my car and he said, “Your car is awesome!” I showed off my car to him: the engine, the loud exhaust, the cold air intake, the wheels and the sport interior. He was as excited as a little kid ready to open Christmas presents. Nick examined every square inch inside and out, giving comments on the extras. He even hesitated to get in because he did not want to get it dirty. On our way home he asked me, “I bet your car handles back roads well, doesn’t it?” I nodded. I knew I could handle any road. It only took ten minutes to realize I was wrong.

I was driving 55 on a 30 mph road. The road was paved but without guardrails and the terrain sloped down into a ditch. I saw a white sedan drifting into my lane. I panicked driving my car off the right side of the road. The right front tire dug into the dirt. We ramped off a smooth boulder, flew into the air feeling the branches scrape the underbelly of my car, and landing on another boulder. Upon landing, I heard the loud noise of the car’s exhaust because my foot was still pressed against the gas pedal. My friend shot out of the car and yelled, “Get out of the car! It’s going to blow up!” I was in a rage gripping the black, leather steering wheel in one hand and the stick shift in the other. I could not think straight enough to realize what my friend had said. I looked out at the windshield, still intact but broken like a finished 1000-piece puzzle. I finally came back to reality, turned off the car, and tried to get out, but there was a tree jamming the door. I broke the five-inch diameter tree with the door and fell onto the moist ground. When I got up, I noticed a metallic taste in my mouth from the strong scent of hot, spilled oil. I examined the car from front to rear, feeling the deep scratches on the blue paint and seeing the iron rims sliced like a knife through butter. My car was totaled, because I had made a stupid decision to show off the car.

After walking out of the ditch, I realized that the wreck happened out of my own irresponsible choice to take the dangerous way home. My friend was sitting on the hillside, still freaking out about how we had survived. It made me realize that the accident not only affected me but my friend as well. My friend blamed himself for suggesting the horrible idea, but in the end I was the only one to blame. My failure had been as a driver and as a friend to put him in such danger. Then, if we had hit the other car, I could have hurt the other people in the sedan because of my speed. There were many tragic possibilities. Thankfully, a miracle occurred and nobody was hurt. The failure that led to my accident was immature and may have been fatal. The car had been destroyed but no one was injured.

Now I understand that I need to consider all possibilities for my decisions before making them. My accident showed me the dangers of driving, but has also helped with day to day decisions. Choosing to study for an exam instead of hanging out with friends is an example of how the accident still benefits me today. Sometimes I would prefer to hang with my friends, but I know that the exam is more important than entertainment. All decisions have consequences. I must choose the decision that will bring about the best outcome possible. The accident may have been depressing but plenty of benefit came out of it.