An open letter to the man who almost ended my life

Emma Bascom, Associate Editor

It was a normal evening. I was headed to rehearsal and decided to go down a narrow, dimly lit road where people hardly drive. It’s the perfect road to sing in the car and be relaxed.

Well, it was the perfect road to be relaxed.

I was driving over a hill, going the speed limit of 35 when I saw the blinding blur and bright headlights of your car–one that could flatten my little Honda Civic–coming at me, in my lane, going at least 60 miles per hour. I screamed, swerved into the ditch and caught a fleeting look of you.

You are a man I had never seen before. Middle aged with dark hair and a blue light over your face. You were texting. You didn’t stop. You didn’t look up. You didn’t know what you had almost done.

I sat in the ditch for a moment, shaking. The weight and reality of what could have happened hit me. I could have been injured with a long, painful recovery. I could have been paralyzed, effectively ending any college softball pitching career I may have had. I could have died.

My entire life could have ended because you were a careless man texting and driving down a narrow road, and that you drifted into my lane, speeding over a hill.

The weirdest part of this? You still walk around, living your life, completely oblivious to the fact that you almost ended mine.

I never saw you coming, and I did not get a license plate number of your vehicle—I was so scared, I didn’t think to notice the make and model of your car.

The moment seemed endless, but probably only lasted for about two or three seconds. It’s mind-boggling to think that everything I could do with the rest of my life could have been over in two or three seconds.

Everything I could be, any future children I may have, any career, any hopes, dreams, or aspirations would have been gone. All because you were careless enough to text and drive and I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. If I would have left my house two minutes earlier or later, I would live my life as if nothing happened. However, that is not the case. Those two or three seconds completely changed the way I think about everything.

Personally, I have never picked up my phone while driving. Though I am a good, defensive driver, I know that if I injured someone while being ignorant and reckless, the guilt would plague me. I wish you were the same way.

I know so many teens and adults who text and drive, laugh about it and don’t think about the consequences. Every time someone has told me this, I explain what almost happened to me. The laughter ceases.

Please, rethink texting and driving. Not just you, but the entire world. You could injure or kill yourself and anyone in your path. Pull over, hand the phone to someone else–do anything. Just stop looking at your phone. It can wait.

According to textinganddrivingsafety.com, 5 seconds is the minimal amount of time your attention is taken away from the road when you’re texting and driving. And that, going 55 miles per hour, equals driving the length of a football field without even looking at the road.

It may not seem like you are looking at your phone for long, but five seconds could mean the end of someone’s life.

Please, understand that it really can wait. It has to wait.