Awareness of one’s surroundings is protection of oneself

AlexaThey say your life flashes before your eyes right before you die, like a reel-to-reel tape of all your memories, regrets, and achievements. Unfortunately, I do not live in a movie or novel, and that isn’t really how it happened for me.

Early last spring, a friend and I were walking to Castro Village, and we had to cross the street near the post office at the stop sign near the Santa Maria Apartments. I stepped onto the street first and at that moment, a white Honda Civic sped out of a drive way further down the street and barreled towards me. I saw no visions of my regrets, had no thoughts of my family and what they’d do without me. All that was left in my mind was the split-second realization that this car had no intention of stopping, and that if it hit me, at the speed it was moving, I would not live to tell the tale.  My heart seemed to stop dead, and I couldn’t bring myself to move my limbs, even as every instinct in my body told me to run fast. Luckily, just in the nick of time, my friend hoisted by my arms and yanked me backwards onto the sidewalk, where we both fell backwards out of the car’s deadly reach.

Standing up, bruised but mercifully still breathing, we watched as the owner of the car, a stubbly-faced middle aged man wearing a yellowed tank top continued to speed past us, kindly flipping us the bird as he went. I was aghast. How could this man nearly hit and kill two teenage girls, and then place the blame on us? There was a clearly visible stop sign at the crossing, and he had not even paused there for a millisecond.

I believe there is something to be said about driving in Castro Valley, as this incident is not a first for me. On many occasions I’ve found myself dodging speeding cars and careless drivers backing out of parking spots. I realize I am not exceptionally tall, but I am still visible over the hood of a car! Sometimes I feel as if I am a walking target for these drivers (25 bonus points if you hit the brunette with the 30 pound backpack!), but I have also seen many other CVHS students avoiding these road disasters, and escaping by a hair’s breadth as well.

I’d like to make a shout-out to all Castro Valley drivers, and CVHS students who walk around town often. Please be careful, and aware of your surroundings. Follow the rules of the road and be reasonable when you drive, and stay away from distractions as you drive or walk. Don’t blast your music, don’t text or make phone calls, or talk to a passenger or a friend. If you are aware of the things going on around you, you can better protect yourself and others from accidents on the road.

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