I was on my way to the bank so I could get cash before work. Heading up a main street in the right lane, I passed a speedometer that reminded me that I was perfectly under the speed limit, and with my eyes on the road and my seatbelt over my chest, I felt safe.
That's when the accident happened.
Another driver came from a side street on the left and crossed all lanes into mine, and my car directly t-boned theirs. My body jerked forward with enough force to throw my glasses off my face, bounce them off the dashboard, and fling them under my seat - all without me even noticing until the impact stopped us both. The anxiety I experienced at that moment is nothing like I've ever known. But between the neck and back pain to fester the next day, and the car anxiety that followed (and that I still have now), the impact itself was only a piece of the trauma.
Even though the car accident wasn't my fault and I had no way of knowing it would happen, it's made me question everything about driving. Every time I see someone speed through a stop sign, turn a corner too quick, race on the highway, or anything remotely risky, I get a sick feeling in my stomach, and the first thought in my head is, "I bet this person has never been in an accident before."
Until you experience a car crash, whether you're in the car or you even just watch the collision, it will change how you look at a car. It became so clear to me afterward that a car is truly a giant weapon. We talk about them and drive in them like it's a point of excitement, something you can love and be proud of, something that is a status symbol.
It's so easy to forget the power, weight, force, and potential behind a vehicle, and the fact that everybody owns them now.
It doesn't matter how good you think you are at driving. When it comes to these massive machines, we only have so much control. Even the best driver is not in enough control. It didn't matter that I did everything right and legally — the experience easily outweighs that. I watch everything and everyone on the road and I still feel like it's not enough.
Please drive safely. For your sake and for others.