The Cost of Freedom

Earlier today, I was in a car accident. It was my second (or third depending on how you look at it) accident. I say that because the two I am considering happened while both cars were moving, whereas this other one happened when I basically hit a parked car in a parking lot. All I did though was scrape some paint off the car; it was really a small thing. All of my accidents would be considered small, but they all leave me feeling shaken. These two bigger car accidents, though, were not my fault. In both, I was hit by another car. The first time, around a year and a half ago, I was T-Boned. It was my first ever car accident, naturally on the night of my homecoming. It was not a bad accident in hindsight. My airbags did not deploy, no one was hurt, and my car was the only car with any damage to speak of, and even then I could still drive away from the scene of the accident just fine. The accident I experienced today was different from my first accident but still not my fault. This time I was rear-ended. Still my airbags did not deploy, no one was hurt, and I could drive my car away from the scene of the accident just fine. The differences were first that the woman who hit me was someone I knew and second that my neck and shoulders hurt from the impact. While the accident was far from severe, it still has sent me into a vortex of anxiety, wondering if these two accidents caused by other drivers will turn into something I experience frequently, and if this is true, will they get progressively worse, finally resulting in something like a drunk driver hitting me and causing my death? While some of my anxiety may be justified, it is much more than just these accidents that have caused my anxiety.

When I began driving when I was 15 and a half, I hated it. I saw the car as a death machine and, the act of driving just an unnecessary cause of fatality. It took me two learner’s permits, a driver’s ed class, a visit to a therapist, and my dad almost threatening me for me get my license. When I began driving on my own, with my own car, I absolutely loved it. I drove everywhere all the time. I, like every other teenager, had never known a freedom like this. In my accidents, though, I have learned the consequences of such freedom. While my accidents have not been bad (knock on wood), I cannot help but to think about how they could have happened, how fate could have not been on my side the way it was. And even, how in the future, it could be much worse. I am lucky and thankful that my accidents have not resulted in anything worse than just minute damage to my car and the other driver’s car, but I am always fearful that one day I might not be as lucky. That one day I could get hit, or hit another car, and it end with severe injury(s) or even death. All I can hope is that it does not happen to me. I can deal with some minor car accidents like the one I was in today or last year, but I just hope I am fortunate enough to not have to endure the injuries from or lose my life in a car accident.

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