Message from accident victim

By A. G. Smith, Ph.D.

This is an open letter to the young man, who last year on Aug. 23 damn near killed me on Main Street.

I know you didn’t mean to hit me, almost head-on, while we were both traveling at the 45 mph speed limit. I’m sure you didn’t mean to do it, but, if you had stopped your car when you were on the RIGHT side of my lane, we both might have suffered no injury. Instead, you attempted to return to your lane, which was foolish. The impact cracked my upper left ribs, drove my left knee into the steel part of the lower dashboard, wrenched my left shoulder, broke my left collarbone (when friends notice the bump, I’ll tell them I was a rodeo cowboy), cracked my sternum, and threw my face against the center of the steering wheel, forcing the frames of my glasses into my brow.

I understand that you fared much worse: while I was at Palomar for four days, you were there for four weeks.

No doubt you’ve had plenty of time to think about your carelessness, and I’m writing to let you know what you did to me. I’m a 77-year-old guy and I’d like to think that you didn’t take any years off my future, but I can’t be certain about that. Life has been good, I have a wonderful family and, except for increased forgetfulness, I’m mostly recovered.

Now, about you: I understand that you’re a college student, and I wish you success as you go forward, but you were not cut out for the current fad of multi-tasking. Please DO NOT think that when you’re driving you can also do something else. For as long as there has been radio, millions of cab drivers, police and firemen, doctors, ambulance drivers, truckers, and pilots have used two-way radio successfully. DO NOT EVER AGAIN try this in your car; you can’t hack it. The suspicion is that you were “texting” a young woman who was in a car behind you. She inadvertently gave you away when she tried to explain your collision to a CHP officer.

Do I hate you for what you did to me? No. In the first place, hatred is a beast that can consume from inside. Second, forgiveness is the most worthy of Christian virtues. But, and I say this to ALL who read this: when you assume that you can be an excellent driver AND do other things as well, you are taking the chance of being the ultimately selfish person. As I said, numerous professionals can handle two-way communication as they drive, sail or fly, but there is ALWAYS the risk of creating a horrible tragedy.

Many years ago, a young male driver in La Mesa saw his hamburger slide off the front seat of his car. In his reaching for it, he, as you, crossed into oncoming traffic and the collision took the lives of three members of a family of four. I was sickened by the thought of such a hideous loss, all for a hamburger.

Much of the injury and death on the highways is a result of selfishness: the drunk or impaired driver, the late-to-somewhere speeder, the confident multi-tasker, the would-be racers, and the thoughtless me-firster.

PLEASE PROMISE yourself that you will be a model of good driving for the rest of your life and may it be a well-lived, long one.

A.G. Smith, Ph.D., is a 39-year Ramona resident.

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Posted by Maureen Robertson on Aug 24 2011. Filed under Commentary. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

1 Comment for “Message from accident victim”

  1. Kevin Nelson

    Bravo, well said…

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