My First Car Accident and What We Can Both Learn From It

First off, no one was injured! Both myself and the other person involved are fine. My Ford Contour named Pip-Squeak, however, has a decent-sized crunch on her nose. (I am currently praying that my Pip isn't totaled or too expensive to fix.)

This past Friday the 24th, I went to my youth group leader's house to have a Girl's Fun Night. And we did. We had a crazy night (and morning) of Just Dance (1-4), nachos, reverse hide-and-seek, Veggie Tales sing-a-longs, ice cream, and sleep-deprivation-caused deep thoughts until we finally crashed at about 3:30 a.m., Saturday morning. Later that morning, we awoke and slowly dispersed. After another episode of Veggie Tales, I left just a little past noon.

On my way home, I experienced one of the most terrifying moments of my life. One second I was tired, but carefree, and the next tires squealed and SLAMCRASHCRUNCH. Every moment changes us. The accident was pretty minor, really, but the shock of it was astounding. I remember thinking very clearly; I understood everything going on, but I was hyperventilating with my left hand stuck in a death-grip on the wheel and my right clamped over my mouth like I was trying not to scream.

A Simple Fact of Life is that all of us will probably be involved in an auto accident at some point in our lives, likely as teens. So if you haven't already experienced something like what I did Saturday, you probably will. I hope that you do not. That is why I am sharing with you what I have learned. Maybe if you learn from my experience, a worse possibility won't happen to you.

As terrifying as that moment was, I will forever remember the great kindnesses of the helpers. I don't know who called 911, but I am so very grateful to them. The responding sheriff's deputy is my friend's dad, and seeing someone familiar in authority was greatly reassuring. I never caught the name of the medics who were there, but the lady was so caring and I hope that I see her again to thank her. Two men helped me to get my car off of the road. One of them was my high school principal, the other was a good Samaritan. I pray that they all know how thankful I am for them.

Distractions are dangerous. I don't wish to divulge some details, but know that neither of us involved were texting, although there are other things that can distract you. Don't mess with your phone while driving. Don't allow your passengers to consume your attention. Don't try to figure out if that cloud looks more like a penguin or a dragon. I know that it can be boring, and you really want to check that text, but cold and corpse-ified is pretty boring, and it can wait. I don't want to sound like all of the clichéd campaigns and posters, but it is true. It only takes a moment of distraction to make a lot more than a moment of terror.

I don't like YOLO, but the point still stands: Enjoy the time you have been given. Things can change so quickly. An instant will change your life forever. I am fortunate in the fact that I was not physically altered by my incident, but that could easily have not been the case. I could have died or lost a limb. As it is, I have lost independent transportation indefinitely. Therefore, any plans of possible summer jobs are put on hold (I live in a rural area; everything is at least seven miles away). So I am left to fondly remember those days. For now, at least.

Your parents really are "just glad that you're okay." Yeah, this accident might cost them a pretty penny. Yes, it put their plans for the day on hold. But that is one thing my wonderful parents both said several times: "I'm just glad that you are okay." Cars are (hopefully!) fixable, plans can be adjusted, insurance is there for a reason, but a child is impossible to replace.

So, yeah, there they are: four things to remember. I know that I will never forget them; my hindsight came blessedly quick. I hope that they stick in your brain and change your life someday, or at least maybe save it.