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Driving Tests This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   Exhaustion hit me as my mom and I drove home from the hospital.

"Did you getit?" my father excitedly greeted me as I walked through the house. I quietlytold him my dreadful news. After discussing the day, I went to bed, only to havethe whole episode replay in my mind.

Closing my eyes, I braced myself forthe inevitable. I flew forward in the driver's seat as the front of my mother'sNissan smashed into the driver's side of the other vehicle. A loud bang explodedin our ears as both airbags popped, sending a burst of dusty smoke into the air.I'm alive, I thought as I peered through the haze and gulped the fresh air thattrickled through my cracked window.

"Oh, Mom, the car," Igroaned when I saw the crumpled hood. As the car drifted into the lane ofoncoming traffic, I realized I needed to get off the road. I pressed the gaspedal but found no power. Pushing back tears, I maneuvered the vehicle into aparking lot.

My mother and I sat in the car, incredulous at this turn ofevents. Less than 30 minutes before, I had been rejoicing over a newly issuedpiece of plastic, as any 16-year-old would. Now I was in a situation I thoughtwould never happen to me. A helpful witness told us the police had been called.He also commanded me to stay in the car and turn off my lights and ignition. Ilost sight of him as a police officer walked over and leaned in my mother'swindow. I groaned inwardly, wondering if the officer would believe the innocenceof a newly licensed driver.

"Registration and driver's license,please." Perhaps hoping the officer would be understanding of my situation,my mother stated that my license had just been issued. The young man shrugged hisshoulders, asking if we wanted the accident recorded. He said that unless the carcould not be driven, the accident could be left unreported. Not even able tostart the car, I sat there as the officer began to fill out the endless paperworkand then questioned me.

"How fast were you traveling?" Ireplied nervously that I had been driving at a speed of 39 miles-per-hour."Were your lights on?" Thankful for the witness's earlier reference tomy lights, I confidently told the officer they had been.

I looked down atmy arm and discovered a pink scrape on my wrist. My mother was slouched in herseat, holding her left wrist. Declining the officer's offer of an ambulance, wegot out of our car and looked for the other victim. Her car showed a huge dentwhere her back left tire was.

Barely able to contain my anger, Iapproached the 80-year-old woman and asked if she had seen my car. Replying thatshe had not gave the officer reason to wonder if I had indeed had my lightson.

We hitched a ride back to the towing company when they loaded our car.My uncle came and we realized just how severe my mother's arm injury was, and sowe headed to the emergency room to have her fractured wrist set.

I woke upthe next morning and realized I had dreamt about the previous day's events.Remembering that I was not at fault, I waited for the insurance check that wouldcover our car damage. However, days rolled by as the insurance company questionedthe use of my car headlights. In all my confusion, I had forgotten to tell theofficer about the witness who ordered me to turn off my lights. Instead, theofficer had a different witness's name. If this man claimed I did not have mylights on, the insurance company would not pay for the repairs. Fortu-nately hedid not, and the check for $7,600 that arrived over a month later was a greatrelief.

It had been a day of tests: one pleasant, the other awful. Yet,the lasting effects of the second proved to be much more beneficial than thefirst. I learned that in life, the harder the test, the stronger the personbecomes.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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