Parties, Cars, and Dangerous Behavior
A true story by Waamene Yowika
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) every day, almost 30 people in the United States die in drunk-driving crashes—that’s one person every 48 minutes in 2017. These deaths have fallen by a third in the last three decades; however, drunk-driving crashes claim more than 10,000 lives per year.
I personally had a traumatizing experience that involved me in the back seat of the car with drunk driver. Ever since that experience I am a huge advocate for sober driving and helping my friends by being the sober driver as necessary. Be sure to talk about the precautions, side effects, and the dangerous hazards of Drunk Driving.
Here’s a story, so take a seat as I begin…
A classmate from college invited a friend and I to a party he was having at his place. It was a school night, so I was a bit hesitant to go, but decided to do something besides studying all week. He picked us up because we didn’t have cars at the time. When we got to his place I was truly shocked at the kind of environment that I had just entered.
First of all, this classmate showed me a collection of drugs that he had and told me how he was “low-key a drug dealer.” In my mind I was questioning where I was and what kind of environment I was about to let myself into. Then he proceeded to show me his knife collection, to which I was both impressed yet slightly scared.
They had multiple bottles of various kinds of alcohol on the kitchen table ready to party. I wondered how they got access to the alcohol since they were underage. Minutes later more people were at this guy’s house, his friend and another random person he met on Bumble.
Everyone is drinking and playing games, but I decided not to. Some were a little more rated R than others. I could tell everyone was getting drunk, and my classmate (the guy’s house we were at) may have had drugs in his system too. I didn’t know and I didn’t ask.
It was interesting to witness how drunk everyone got. They lost all kinds of access to self-care and self-awareness.
I noticed the time and was ready to leave the party. I wanted to go home where I felt safe and could finally sleep. However, at the time I did not have a car, so transportation was very difficult for me. I didn’t feel confident about contacting someone because in the past I haven’t been able to rely on others. Also, it was extremely late at night and I doubted that anyone would wake up to come get me. Unfortunately, the icing on the cake was that I did not have any money to pay for a cab ride or Uber.
So my night took a turn for the worst…
I got in the car with a drunk driver. I was hesitant to get in the car, but felt I had no other option as the guys wanted to go to another party. They sat in the front seats while me, my friend, the girl from bumble, and another guy sat in the back seat. They had only 3 seats in the back, so my friend had to lay in our laps during the car ride without a seatbelt. 🙁
The driver was reckless, speeding through the streets and nearly running red-lights. While they were driving they saw a cop and decided to slow down and drive normal so the cop didn’t suspect anything. They successfully tricked the cop and drove into someone’s driveway doing a dangerous U-Turn. I decided I didn’t want to go to the party anymore and asked them to take me home.
They continued to drive really fast, even as my friend was yelling to “slow down” and warning them that there are consequences for drinking and driving under the influence.
They were driving so fast that a trip that would of taken 30-45 minutes ended up being 15 minutes due to the consecutive speeding. All that I could think to myself while I was crying was: “is this how it all ends?” “What will my mother think of this?” “Will I ever graduate college?” “Will I die tonight?” “I might never pursue my dreams, get married, or have kids one day.”
I was scared and felt out of control. All I could do was look at my friend who was laying on my lap. As we approach the street to my place I became very eager to escape the dangerous car ride. The driver kept missing my place in his inebriated state doing 2 U-turns before he finally stopped at my house. I got out of that car with my life.
At the time and looking back at it now, I wish I had known how to better intervene. I wish I had the money to pay for a cab or spoken up more so someone else could clearly see we needed a sober driver. I was young, I was 22 when this happened. But that isn’t an excuse.
What’s most annoying is I saw the guy who had the party the next day and asked him if he recalled what happened the night before. He said he didn’t remember most of it. He didn’t apologize for the reckless behavior and honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if he drove impaired again.
After this experience, I’m a dedicated advocate of driving sober OR always finding a sober ride home. In my opinion life is much more important than a temporary feeling.
Lastly, if there is something you take away from this story I’d like you to remember that not everyone feels comfortable to speak up or ask for help. And not everyone has the financial means to access safe transportation.