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Driving has distractions

   As you prepare for final exams, summer, graduation, or whatever else is on your mind, the last thing you are probably thinking about is traffic safety.

   As you leave Valdosta State for the summer (or maybe for good), you might not even be worrying about those around you. Speaking from experience, this is a mistake.

   I was coming back to VSU early because I needed to work on a group project, when I got distracted. I looked to the left and saw a huge crowd of people outside a school, and when I got my eyes back on the road, I was six inches from piling into the back of a Ford Explorer.

   I still recall the impact, and I remember it as if it happened just a few minutes ago. The memory of you smashing into a parked SUV at 45 mph probably wouldn’t leave the mind very easily. I recall my glasses being knocked off, and the bruises from where the seatbelt was, and the pain.

   But I was lucky. Damn lucky.

A lot of people aren’t quite so lucky. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in 2010, over 3,000 people were killed in accident when the driver was distracted, and that’s far too many.

   Of course, it doesn’t just involve just moving your eyes from the road.

   As someone who has survived an accident caused by distracted driving, I cringe whenever I see someone on their cell phone talking, or worse, texting. There are few phone calls in this world that are worth the trouble of risking your own life, and there are a hell of a lot less texts – none, I would say – that are worth the risk.

   You and you alone can stop yourself from this. Keep your eyes on the road. Put away the cell phone – or better yet, unless you have to take a phone call that is life threatening or urgent to those close to you, turn the damn thing off. You can talk to people later. You can respond to your texts later.

   Besides, you are behind the wheel of a lethal weapon. Nothing more, nothing less. You are not superman, and you are not invincible.

   One moment of distraction, one moment of reading a text from your friend and responding “OMG LOL”, one moment of having to calm down the kids in the back seat, one moment of looking elsewhere from the road, and you could wind up in the back of another car, or around a tree, or worse- dead.

   Don’t let that happen to you as you head home and enjoy your summer. Don’t become another statistic, and if you are indeed returning to Valdosta State in August, be able to make it back in one piece.

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