Always Buckle Up This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Although I have always worn my seat belt, I now know why it is so important to buckle up. No matter how short the distance that you are traveling, wear your seat belt. It could save your life. You never know when an accident is going to happen. Believe me, I know.

This summer I went white water rafting for the first time. The day was cloudy and damp. Even though it was chilly out, we still had fun. My friend even fell out of the raft! She was fine, just a little shaken and cold. We hit all of the rapids perfectly. The boy who was guiding us said that we were a great crew. It seemed like the day was a great success.

We stopped at a pizza place on the way home. We were all starving. The ride was almost four hours, so we had to stop and eat. Everyone had a good time. We laughed and ate. It was a great birthday present for my friend, who kept thanking us for a wonderful day. We let her carry the leftover pizza in the box, and she had to hold it the whole way home. I have never seen her eat so much.

After we left, we needed gas. The gas station was just across the street. We had to cross a four-lane highway to get there. As we waited to pull out, we discussed putting on our seat belts. I already had mine on. My friend's brother and I agreed that you should always wear them. As we pulled out, we said that you never know when an accident is going to happen.

Just then I looked up. A pickup truck was coming straight at us. My friend's brother and I both screamed. Everything seemed to happen in slow motion. I felt as if I was on automatic pilot. I tucked my head down against my legs. The sound of the impact was terrifying. Glass was flying everywhere. I have never been so scared in my life.

When the van came to a stop, I climbed out with my friend. She was just putting her seat belt on when the wreck occurred. She had been thrown to the floor. Her head had hit the window, and a large bump was forming on her crown. When I first say her, I was scared. I thought she was covered in blood. The pizza box had opened and pizza sauce had gotten all over her white shirt. She reassured me she was fine.

We then went to check on everyone else. Her brother was unconscious on the front seat. My friend was afraid that something was seriously the matter with him. He came to a minute later, and the medics assured us he was fine. Many people who had seen the accident came to help us. A boy about our age was hugging my friend and me. He helped to settle us down. We never did find out his name.

After we were transported to the hospital by ambulance, we were all declared okay, if you could call it that. We were all very shaken. The nurses were very nice. They gave us a room to wait in together.

The boy who was driving was in a state of shock. He just sat there and held onto his knees. Everyone was so frightened. We were two hours from home, and the boy's parents had to come get us. Almost everyone slept on the way home. It had been a very long day. The van we had driven was totalled.

As I look back on that night, I am very grateful to have come out of the accident uninjured. Whenever I look down at my left leg, I am reminded of the seat belt that kept me from harm. Just below my knee there is a small circular scar, which was my only injury. With the massive force of impact. I could have been thrown against the window. If it hadn't been for the seat belt, I might not be here today.

Every time I get in my car, I buckle my seat belt before I start the engine. It doesn't matter if you're driving down the street, a block, or twenty miles. You never know when an accident will happen, and that small strap of fabric across your hips might just save your life. ?


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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