I remember the class and seeing the films and being lectured about it and using the simulators and eventually going out and actually practicing for real. The class I am referring to was our high school driver's instruction and safety class. The films were dated and were mandatory and they were brutally real and shocking. I had times where I wondered if driving was something I really wanted to do after seeing such horrifying car accident scenes and realizing that people had actually died at the scenes shown in the films.
As a young adult it is a sign of gaining independence when we get our drivers license and our first car. As young drivers we must always learn safety and exercise proper judgement at all times. Naturally being young we feel invincible and feel we can do almost anything but we are only fooling ourselves if we are wreckless when it comes to driving and hanging out with our friends. There are too many tragic stories of teenagers and college age kids dying in car accidents for various reasons and we must always get the point across to young kids about how dangerous driving can be if we don't practice safety and drive with respect for the laws imposed.
I have been driving now for almost 30 years and I have seen some really scary car accidents after they had happened and I found myself wondering how some of the cars got positioned the way they were at the accident scene. The forces involved propelled some of the cars in such terrifying positions and I had seen some cars flipped over and people thrown from them. I even had to make some 911 emergency calls from my cell phone or from a telephone booth when the accident had just happened. I even witnessed a handful of high speed accidents that occurred within yards of my car and they can really shake you up. I have been fortunate in that I was involved in only one accident which happened while I was sitting in traffic at a light and a car hit my car from behind catapulting my car into the car in front of me. I was fortunate that I wasn't hurt nor were the other drivers but my car was totaled.
I also lost a dear friend from my high school days who was driving upstate with his mother to visit some college campuses and somehow he lost control of his car on a rain slicked road and careened into a truck and was killed instantly. I was in such shock when I learned of his death and when I hugged his mother who survived the accident I whispered words of comfort and of how I will miss him and I tried my best to console her as he was her only child. It was so very sad. I knew from that day on I would drive with safety in mind always because anything can happen and sometimes you have no control over the situation like my friend Scott, who died in such a tragic way.
I see them on local streets, on parkways, on highways, on interstates and at intersections. They are becoming more and more common and I often wonder about the poor people involved and what their lives were like and who they left behind. It is a wakeup call when you see them because you know something very sad happened there at that scene and someone lost their life in a car accident. Roadside memorials really are emotional to see and I sometimes can't help but notice them as they are so visible and striking and you can tell that the accident victims were loved and the memorial is a way to honor the person and pay respects at the scene where the accident took place that claimed their life.
I believe that roadside memorials are important and are part of the healing process for the families and a reminder to the drivers on the road how very important it is to always drive with safety in mind and respect for the laws of the road. I remember being a bit choked up when I came upon a family who pulled their car up on to the grass off the main highway and walked towards a tree with wreaths, flowers, pictures and sad faces. It was another family making a roadside memorial for a loved one who died in a car accident. That scene and the pain in their faces really made an impact on me and I couldn't help but feel sad for them for their loss and I thought about the poor person who died there and how the family misses them so.
It is a painful reality of life losing someone unexpectedly and in such a tragic way and it seems that remembering the person and visiting the scene where they died and setting up a little memorial is something that is necessary for so many people. I always feel sad when I come upon a roadside memorial and am grateful for the family, friends and those who cared for the victim to show their love and compassion by designating a memorial as a shrine for them so they will never forget.
We all must exercise proper judgement when driving and always respect the laws of the road and each other so we can try to prevent accidents and loss of life on the roads.
Edward D. Iannielli III