The title of this post is a bit intense, isn’t it? Well, I hope it gets your attention as much as it did mine when I first heard it. I was a 16 year old high school sophomore when I learned what these words meant. And they have literally saved my life.
As a teenager I wanted the independence of being able to drive. So my parents enrolled me in a driver’s education class. The first part of the class was all theory. After I passed that phase, I went on to the next phase – road practice. At the end of the last class before we moved on to actually getting behind the wheel, our instructor said those words that have guided me as a driver the past two and a half decades.
What do you think those words mean? Initially, I wasn’t sure. But then after he explained it, it made perfect sense. What he explained to us is that as new drivers, we had to be careful at all times. We have to drive for ourselves as well as the other drivers on the road. We also have to drive for pedestrians. Because if we get into an accident of any sort, if we die, we’re dead. It doesn’t matter who was right or wrong: dead right is the same as dead wrong.
Here are some alarming statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention:
- Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens, accounting for more than one in three deaths in this age group.
- In 2009, eight teens ages 16 to 19 died every day from motor vehicle injuries.