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  • Writer's pictureAthanasia Houvarda

STOP at the red light!

Updated: Jun 2, 2021

Last night I had a restless sleep, I was tossing and turning up to 4am, until I was so exhausted and finally drifted off to dreamland. But my dreams were haunted by nightmares.

About an hour before calling it a day, I followed my regular routine like every night. I read for a while a book to clear my mind from my daily thoughts and as usual I grabbed my phone to send some "Goodmorning's and Happy June 1st" to my family in Greece. Where I am in Canada, we are seven hours behind in time and I am doing my best to stay connected with them. I was about to turn off my phone when the familiar noise of an incoming text drew my attention, and instead, I went back online to see who the text was from. To my surprise I saw the name of a friend that I haven't spoken for a while, and smiled. It felt good to receive his text... until I saw the headline of the article he forward to me.

"Another 22 years old young man, tragically lost his life on the road"

He send me the link of an article about the devastating news of a tragic road accident that took place two nights before. He closed his text with an encouraging comment to never stop trying to raise road safety awareness.

Reading the headline of the article I felt my heart sinking. When I clicked on the link, a video started playing showing how the accident happened. I kept reading in shock the details, dreading the moment that it might be someone I knew. And even though, I quickly realized I didn't know the victim of the crash, the pain was still the same.

The article wrote in descriptive language that a man in his late 50's never stopped, or slowed down at the red traffic lights, and hit the motorcycle that the young man was driving.

The crash was fatal.

On the article, followed the words of his father.

"We were having a nice quiet evening at home and he had to return to his military base. I offered to drive him with the car but he insisted on driving his motorcycle. And he left".

Less than an hour later, the phone rang and at the other end of the line was his son's sergeant who with a trembling voice, announced the news. The news were not good. The news were devastating.

While reading the article, I felt my knees shaking. In my mind, I was reliving my own tragic accident and with every memory I could feel my heart beat, increasing. Imagining the father of the young man receiving the news, brought back memories and I imagined my father on the other side of the phone, receiving the news about my own accident.

How can someone explain with words the feelings of dispair and pain? It's impossible. The big "WHY?" question instinctively takes over every thought.

On moments like these I am reminded of how our lives can be hanged by a thin thread. One split second, one wrong move, one wrong judgement, and the devastating results are irreversible.

How many lives are impacted by this tragic accident that only took one split second to happen?

One life is gone, parents are grieving, friends and family members are left muffled with questions. First responders, police officers, paramedics, bystanders on the scene are left shocked by what they have witnessed. So much pain. It's not fair.

He was only 22 years old.

A young man that had his whole life in front of him. Dreams, hopes and plans. He is now gone forever, due to unsafe driving. The driver that caused the crash, 59 years old, is left uninjured. Physically uninjured. But what about emotionally and mentally?

His family will have to deal with the result of his actions as well. He might even have children of his own, same age as the young man he just took the life from. How are they going to cope with this outcome?

My heart goes out for his family. They are as innocent as the young man. So many lives impacted. It 's wrong, it's cruel and it's devastating.

Here is a fact.

Road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death among young people aged 5-29. Young adults aged 15-44 account for more than half of all road deaths.

Every second counts.

PLEASE be aware of the danger, please drive safely.

STOP at the red traffic light!

Watch the video here. (Explixit Content)

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