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Drunk Driver Is Ahead, What Do You Do?
Know What You Would Do?
You’re driving down the freeway in the middle lane and you notice that two cars ahead in the right lane is a driver who is having a really hard time keeping their car on the road. It almost hits the guard rail and you flinch. The car behind the erratic driver slows way down to give the unpredictable driver some room. Meanwhile, you also slow down because the last thing you want to do is get next to this car which is now swerving way into your lane and back towards the guard rail. It’s obvious to you and the cars around you that this person is impaired by something! Is it alcohol? Is it Drugs? You don’t really care at that time, you just want to stay clear.
What Are You Thinking?
The conversation that goes on in your head is very fast and very conflicted when you’re in the moment.
You think, ‘Should I call 911 on this person and get them off the road before they kill someone?’
‘Maybe I will just follow them and make sure they get to where they’re going safely.’
‘What if I’m wrong and this is just someone who wasn’t paying attention for a min, and swerved?’
‘Maybe someone else has already called. I mean, everyone can see how this person is driving.’
‘I really need to get home, maybe it’s none of my business.’
As the driver comes within inches of the guard rail now your heart jumps to your throat and you think,
‘Could I live with myself if something happens to this driver or someone else and I didn't call?’
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Guilt Sets In
Then you get a mental flash of everyone you've ever known who have gotten a DUI citation and how much money they've had to spend and how much strain it puts on some families. Right at that time you think of all the people who have lost family and friends to Drunk Drivers and the all of the needless pain it has caused innocent people.
You grab your phone and call 911. As it’s ringing you notice the car exiting the freeway, at your exit. Your first selfish thought is, ’Oh no, this driver could live by MY family.’ Then immediate guilt sets in and you realize, ‘this driver lives by SOMEONES family.’
While on the phone with the 911 Operator you’re following the driver in order to give as much detail as you can. The car is turning onto side roads with no other traffic so it becomes obvious that you are following them and you begin to think, ‘What if this person is on a drug other than alcohol and it makes them paranoid or violent?’ ‘What if they stop the car, get out and try to hurt me?’
When you’re done with the call and safely on your way home, there is a cloud of guilt and shame looming over your feeling of satisfaction for having done the right thing. The guilt and shame is for all the selfish thoughts that ran in your head and all the justifications that prevented you from calling right away.
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This situation happened to me last night.
I have always prided myself on being the kind of person who takes a stand for what’s right and firmly believes in accountability.
I grew up in a home that was ruined by alcohol and I don’t allow any drinking around my kids because of it. If someone is being mistreated, discriminated against or bullied, I am always the one who comes to their defense.
I am a firm advocate against Drunk Driving. So why did I hesitate to get involved when the time came to really make a difference?
I’m not sure but, it has made me reevaluate who I actually am as opposed to who I think I am.