Two weeks ago, my boyfriend Jamy was picking me up from campus to drive us back to our hometown in South Jersey. It has been an ongoing ritual since I have started college, and we plan our schedules accordingly so we can leave campus the same night we finish our classes.
Each week, I look forward to this drive home. It’s a time when Jamy and I can reconnect and tell each other of the latest stories we’ve battled throughout the week. However, this week was different.
We were stuck at the light in front of the main entrance to campus waiting to turn right on South Orange Avenue. The light had just changed for the opposing side to make the left hand turn into East Orange. I looked down at my phone for a split second and then it happened.
Glass rained onto the ground and steam filled the air as oil spilled into the intersection.
My heart stopped for a second as silence filled the air.
Jamy and I looked at each other for a brief second with the mutual understanding: if we had moved any closer into the intersection that could have been us.
A black Jeep had sped through the red light and hit the nose of a car attempting to make a left-hand turn into East Orange.
Luckily, no one involved in the accident was injured. However, if the Jeep had hit the car any closer to the passenger door that statement would be arguable.
In that moment, I learned the importance of the correlation between our actions and time. During that second, two people’s lives were put in jeopardy because of one person’s impatience. Since that night, I have come to a realization.
Prior to this experience, my Mom had always told me when driving: “Timing means everything.” It was not until two weeks ago that I could say I understand what she meant.
This is not intended to be a driver’s education lecture. It’s my recognition that carelessness has repercussions. Flooring the gas pedal because you don’t want to wait the extra two minutes at a red light is not worth it. The average American lives to be 77.5 years old. This means over the course of your lifetime, you have 40,734,000 minutes to spare. The risk of being careless is too great while driving. Ultimately, double-think reckless decisions because they always have the potential to go beyond you.
Rachel Hassett is a sophomore journalism major from Marlton, N.J. She can be reached at email@example.com.