Injured Altamont Student Wants You To Learn From His Example, Not Repeat It

Caden Williams

Caden Williams

Thursday, September 30, 2021
Injured Altamont Student Wants You To Learn From His Example, Not Repeat It

Believe it or not, it could have been much worse than this. Photos by Caden Williams.

For many, a big part of turning 16 is the feeling of unrestricted freedom. The ability to drive encourages that feeling! When I turned 16, I quickly got my license and was excited to be solely independent. After having my license for a couple months, I was comfortable in my driving ability and was blind to some of its dangers. 

But as some of you may know, Carl Grahs and I were involved in a car crash in early September. Luckily, we were both okay. I managed to walk away with a mild traumatic brain injury and a few cuts. Carl was bruised but otherwise unscathed. While I was still in the hospital, the doctors stressed just how lucky we were to not be permanently injured from the accident.


That day, while turning, my back tires skidded due to the rainy conditions. I hydroplaned over the curb, the passenger side slamming into a tree. My first reaction was utter shock. I had been lulled into a false sense of safety while driving. I had forgotten just how bad car accidents could get! I'd subconsciously thought both I and the car were invincible.

After the accident it felt like my whole world fell apart. It was as if my reality had been shattered.
The worst feeling was having someone else in the car. When driving people around, the driver has the passengers’ lives in their hands, not to mention those of others on the road, and I took that for granted.

I experienced the worst guilt I have ever felt. What would have happened had Carl been injured or worse? For the next few days, I kept replaying the incident in my head. Because of the accident, my mom has to buy a new car, my phone is broken, and worst of all, I can never get rid of the guilt I feel. No matter how many times he assures me he is fine and “it could have happened to anyone,” I still feel I did an immense disservice to him. I’m a bad friend for letting that happen to him.

There was a silver lining to the incident, though. It made me value my life so much more; afterward, the world seemed so much more vivid and precious. The accident woke me up!

I almost feel like I needed to experience the crash to truly show just how dangerous a car is. I now feel like I truly understand the gravity of driving. But please, don’t get in a car accident just to learn what I learned. Altamont community, read this as a cautionary tale and don’t do what I did! 


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