Please Don't Drink And Drive Tonight (or Any Other Night)Dedicated to Jessica.
A few years ago I lost a friend whom I went to High School with in a horrific tragedy. Her name was Jessica and we both went to high school together. We weren't very close friends as our social circles were different but we did talk when we saw each other. She was somewhat loud (as anyone whom knew her would say) but also a very good person to those that knew her well and very beautiful as well.
I graduated from high school a year before her and we didn't keep in contact after high school. A few years after I had graduated high school I ran into an old associate from school and while talking about school days past and the stuff that was going on in our daily lives, he told me that Jessica was killed in an accident. While celebrating her 21st birthday she went out for a ride with four other friends. The driver was drunk. They were driving through countryside type landscape and through an area that was very hilly and had a reputation of testing the skills of even the most competent of drivers. Needless to say, a drunk driver should have never been driving through such a challenging stretch of roadway.
They ended up driving off a very steep cliff, the car plummeted into a free-fall before landing upside down. And after a few moments, the car exploded and erupted into flames, consuming everything within. Paramedics and firefighters said that even if the car had not exploded and caught fire, the fall itself would have been more than enough to kill everyone within it. And indeed, all five people in the car - including my friend Jessica - died in the accident. Even veteran emergency personnel on the scene were taken aback and shaken by this disaster.
After I heard the account of her death, I was shocked beyond belief. I couldn't believe it as I thought continuously to myself, "not my Jessica, not the Jessica I know." How could this be? I went through the entire day feeling hollow and numb, thinking about the few times we actually did talk in school and how attractive she was. How loud and lively she was and how her voice has been silenced and her vibrant spirit is no more.
She was gone....forever.
When you are in your early 20's it's true to some extent that you don't think much about your mortality. You're young and you think that you're going to live forever. You're not stupid, of course, you know that you are human and that like any human of any age you can bleed and die but it's never front and center in your mind. When you are in your 20's you are just starting out and paving your way in life. You're a rookie adult pretty much. Hearing about her death, made me more aware of my own mortality and how life is so sudden - here one day and gone the next. It made me realize how sensitive and fleeting life was and how I too could meet an untimely demise while young.
Nowhere does it say that I will live to a ripe old age or even middle age. I may even die as a young adult, having never made it passed the age of 35 which is the benchmark for full-adult status. You hear about young people your age dying all the time on the news but it is so much different when someone that you know in flesh and blood and have spoken too, had experiences and memories of and now they are no longer here in life.
Please don't drink and drive. Call a friend, a taxi, even a parent if you have to. Call them to come pick you up if you are too inebriated to drive home. Even better, if you are going out with friends, ensure that at least one of you is the designated driver. The designated driver should not have any alcohol to drink - AT ALL! Not a single beer or even a single shot glass. No liquor for the designated driver! NO EXCUSES! If the person you choose to be the designated driver for the evening is less than thrilled about the role then perhaps you can offer to buy their drinks (once again, non-alcoholic beverages) for the evening or pay for their meal or do some other type of favor for them. It may also be helpful to promise them that next time someone else can be the designated driver besides them.
Don't get into a car when the driver of the vehicle has been drinking. And lastly, if someone you know is drunk and planning to drive, Please don't simply let them drive away, even if they give you all the reassurances in the world that they will make it home just fine. Don't give the chance to hurt someone innocent. Don't give them the chance to hurt themselves. If yo're friend were about to commit suicide you would stop them, right? Well, the same principle applies here. Watching your drunk friend drive off from the party could be tantamount to allowing them to commit suicide. Even if they don't die but hurt someone else, they could end up in prison for a very long time, which would effectively ruin their life as well. Real friends don't stand by and allow friends to hurt themselves.
And if you happen to be driving down a roadway or freeway and you see a car swerving on the road, then in all likelihood the driver is drunk (especially on a night like tonight). Call the police, county sheriff or state police/highway patrol. Don't just let them continue on their way swerving about the roadway without letting authorities know about it so that they can have a chance to intercept the driver of that car before he kills or maims someone. I'm asking you guys to prevent a tragedy similar to the one that took the life of my friend Jessica. You can prevent something like that from happening again tonight and it doesn't take a super human feat to prevent such a tragic act from happening again. All you have to do is be honest with yourself and say, "I can't drive because I am too drunk." (make sure that you have a sober friend that can look out for you so you won't have to depend on a stranger to drive you home, which can lead to date rape if you are a female).
Be honest with yourself. If you can't say your ABC's or walk on a straight line or even legibly write your name on sheet of paper, if you can't do those very simple things then you sure as hell can't drive a car. It's not an insult against you or your driving skills. I'm sure you are quite a fine driver - when you are sober. But no one is a good drunk drive. No one.
I'm not trying to be a buzzkill or ruin anyone's party. It's New Years Eve and I hope everyone has a blast tonight. Have fun with your friends and maybe make some new ones. All that I'm really saying is if you are going to drink then don't drive and if you are going to drive then don't drink.
Tonight is a major night for drunk driving fatalities and rest assured before the sunrises on the morning of January 1, 2011, there will be people in the morgue and others sitting in jail cells on a charge of manslaughter or murder as a result of drunk driving. There will always be that one who believes that they drive better after a few drinks or that they can make it home because they drove drunk in the past or whatever else. Make sure that this person is not you.
Don't be selfish and take someone else's life. Don't Drink and Drive!
<3 For You Jessica! Love you and miss you! Rest In Peace <3 :)
*Special thanks to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) http://www.madd.org/
Drunk Driving Public Service Announcement #1
Drunk Driving Public Service Announcement #2
Drunk Driving Public Service Announcement #3
Drunk Driving Public Service Announcement #4
Drunk Driving Public Service Announcement #5