It was a day that I would never forget

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It was a day that I would never forget. I had just turned sixteen and I was definitely ready to receive my driver’s license. I completed segments one and two of driver’s training, and I passed my road test with ease. Surprisingly, I managed to avoid hitting any cones or accumulate any points during the road test. Mrs. Maxwell, my driving instructor, praised my driving abilities. She claimed I was the most talented teenage driver that she had ever seen in her career. Looking back on her acclamation, I realize that she was completely wrong…

September 17 had at last arrived. Full of anticipation, my dad, my twin brother, Clayton, and I, jumped in the car to drive to the Secretary of State office in Ionia. My dad granted Clayton and I our first taste of freedom when he allowed both of us to sit in the front seats. My father was finally letting go and accepting his role as the back seat driver. Clayton (keep in mind that he is only one minute older than I am) said that he was going to drive to Ionia because he was older and more mature. And because I was such a considerate and understanding sister, I agreed to ride as the co-pilot to Ionia. However, we made a deal that I would drive on the way back from the Secretary of State office.

We finally hit the road, unfortunately only with our permits in hand. But soon we would surely have our drivers’ licenses. Clayton and I were well trained and prepared to become legal drivers. We were ready to begin a new chapter in our lives that held more freedom and privileges, but also faced greater responsibilities and consequences. Finally reaching the infamous age marker of sixteen, we were taking the first steps in becoming real adults.

After the long and weary journey of twenty minutes, we reached our destination in downtown Ionia. Ecstatic and uncertain at the same time, the three of us walked up to the front counter at the Secretary of State office. A petite woman explained the requirements that we needed in order to obtain our drivers’ licenses. The qualifications included filling out information that would be posted on our licenses and passing a vision and hearing test. After meeting these requirements, we got our pictures taken for identification on our licenses. Clayton was “one and done” on his picture, while I needed three takes before my picture was perfect. Now we were eligible to receive our temporary licenses. Freedom was now at hand! How could anything go wrong?

Holding up my end of the deal, I took my place in the driver’s seat with Clayton by my side in the passenger seat. Wearing a smile that stretched from ear to ear, I started the old blue car and put it in reverse. Quickly realizing that going backwards would be a huge mistake, I shifted into drive and slowly crept out of the parking lot. Laughter soon arose and I instantly knew that it was coming from my brother. If it had been any other day, I would have smacked him for laughing at me, but today was different. I was so exuberant that I didn’t even mind him laughing at me; instead I embraced it, and soon I erupted into laughter also. With my hands positioned at “ten and two” and having a death grip on the wheel, I knew that I must’ve looked pretty silly.

As laughter turned into silence, I let my mind wander. I began to imagine driving in a red convertible going to the mall with all my friends. I could feel the summer sun warming my face and my hair blowing in the breeze. The radio was turned way up and we were all singing and laughing together. I honked the horn several times to flaunt the joyous time we were having. However, the sounds of the horn continued, and I snapped back into reality. From the corner of my eye I could see a vehicle coming directly at us. There was absolutely no time to prevent the collision. In an instant, the oncoming vehicle smashed into the driver’s side of our car. My head swayed quickly to the right and then whipped back to the left, hitting the window. On impact, our car spun around fully three times. The car halted in about the same spot that it was in before the collision. Breathing quickly, my dad asked if we were all right. With a nod of approval from the two of us, he got out of the car to examine the damage. My brother and I remained in the car, still in shock from what had just happened. We watched as my dad talked with the woman who hit us. They exchanged insurance information and then he got back into the car. Miraculously, he said that there was no damage done to our old blue car, while the other vehicle had a dent in its front. My dad also said that the woman claimed that she didn’t even see us. Unable to drive any longer, my dad took over and we went home.

Looking back on my first and hopefully last car accident, I can laugh about the whole matter. My very first time driving as a sixteen year old was far from a positive experience. It is so ironic how I managed to get in an accident only about a mile down the road from the Secretary of State office. It was also ironic how our old blue 1988 Oldsmobile managed to resist any damage, while the woman’s brand new vehicle could not withstand the impact. I am very proud to drive that car to this day! I know that the irony of my first drive is something I will remember for the rest of my life!





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