Breaking the Invincibility Complex


As teenagers, almost all of us can attest to having the “Invincibility Complex.” At times, we don’t like to admit it when we are told by parents, teachers, and other adults in our lives that we are, in fact, not invincible. Being young, it is easy to believe that nothing can hurt us, nothing can happen to us, as we have our whole lives ahead of us. However, a car accident can be a harsh wake up call.

Two weeks ago, I was on my way to swim practice, the same drive I make eight times a week to the Potter Park YMCA. A friend of mine was following me, and it was about 7:30 a.m., light and clear enough outside to see everything I needed to while driving.

I had come from a red light on Honore, and was only going about 35 mph, when I slammed into the car in front of me, and my car filled up with smoke. I was not even aware of the airbags going off, but the next thing I knew, I couldn’t breathe in the car, my airbags were both open, and there was brown, pungent radiator fluid all over the dashboard. By that time hysterical, I got out as quickly as I could and tried frantically to understand what had happened.

What I saw was a 5-car pile-up. The first woman had stopped in the middle of the road to allow some ducks to pass in front of her car. Another woman had hit her, a third woman hit them both, I hit the third woman, and my friend rear-ended me– a domino effect.

My car, after hitting the Tahoe, had the worst damage of all the cars. The first woman was the only one who did not receive a ticket, as they rest of us, even though we were paying attention to the road, were technically driving carelessly and not leaving enough room between cars to stop in time. Drivers beware!

Parents are constantly nagging their children about not texting while driving. My parents, in particular, are so worried about it that they had a program installed in my car called “Cell Control.” This program prevents me from being able to unlock my phone while the car is in motion, so that I cannot text, look for music, or check any social media.

Because of this, I was not looking at my phone when the accident happened. That being said, just because I wasn’t looking at my phone doesn’t mean I was doing nothing wrong. People think that paying attention to the road is the only thing that matters in protecting yourself, when there is really much more to it.

Doing everything you can to pay attention and be a safe driver is only part of preventing accidents. As important as that is, it is just as important to be a defensive driver, and watch other people as well.

Even if you think you are doing everything right, you may find yourself in the middle of a bad situation because of another’s actions affecting yours and other people’s.

Because of this experience, my “Invincibility Complex” has been shattered, and I am sharing this as a warning to my teenage peers.

As much as we wish we were superhuman, we will never be as invincible as we think we are.