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 Stay Alert, Stay Alive

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Eighth Nation

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PostSubject: Stay Alert, Stay Alive   Wed Jul 14, 2010 9:39 pm

After hearing, reading and seeing evidence of the single worst tragedy on Irish roads in the history of my nation. I felt it a duty to bring attention to a topic that as yet seems untouched on these forums, road safety.

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Since the accident, all victims and the lone survivor of this terrible accident have been named:

Hughie Friel (66) as he returned home from bingo.

Mark McLaughlin (21) of Ballinahone, Fahan; Paul Doherty (19), of Ardagh, Ballyliffin; Ciaran Sweeney (19), of Ballyliffin; PJ McLaughlin (21), of Tooban, Burnfoot; James McEleney (23), of Minaduff, Clonmany; Eamon McDaid (22), of Ballymagan, Buncrana; and Damien McLaughlin (21). All killed instantly.

Shaun Kelly (22), of Ballymagan, Buncrana, is in a stable condition in hospital.

Mr Friel was alone in his car. All other lives lost apart from him were passengers of Mr Kelly, 7 passengers in a car fit to hol five people at a maximum, driver included.

A number of members here are of the age where they are attending driver's ed or starting lessons, very exciting, but we cannot let that excitement cloud our finer judgement behind the wheel.

In a haze of bad judgement and under the influence of alcohol, I myself could have been another life lost needlessly.

On the 15th of October 2008 at around 3am, I had spent the night drinking at a few local bars and had got absolutely blitzed, a bad start considering I was under the drinking age at the time. I returned home and the sensor light on the garage shone onto my new car, 1997 Toyota Corolla G6. I thought nothing of it, unlocked the back door and went inside, I got myself a couple of pints of water to sober up a little before bed. My car keys were hanging up on a rack in the kitchen, for some stupid and to this day unknown reason, I took them and decided to go for a little drive. All of us have taken our parents car for a cheeky little spin. But I was:

1. On my learner's permit.
2. About to drive alone for the first time.
3. Drunk beyond comparison.

The car was away for all of fifteen minutes. In that time I drove it roughly ten miles. I was on a wide stretch of road, which was slightly wet from some light rain. I was just 10mph over the speed limit of 60. I lost control, diminished reaction times from my drinking meant I couldn't reign the car in in time for it to stay on the road, I crossed the road, luckily with no oncoming cars, as it bumped down onto the grass my nose hit hard of the steering wheel, temporarily blinding me. I steered back towards the road a re-joined it on the correct side. I pulled onto the shoulder and inspected the damage before going home. I woke my mom and brother in a panic claiming the car had been stolen and then returned, obviously they saw through it but it took me until the next day to own up. Even lied to Dingo and Tox, who I had only met 5 days previously. My dad scared the shit out of me with the reality of it, I could have killed myself or someone else. I revisited the spot I left the road, 4 months later, and the tiretracks I left still show how close I was to flipping the car. It cost me half of what it cost to buy the car to rebuild the front end. Plus every second of spare time at weekends and in the evening actually personally rebuilding it. I escaped with no consequence as far as trouble with the law or injury. The shame of having done something so stupid still stays with me. What scares me most are the things I'd have missed, my 18th birthday, winning football trophies, seeing my nephew turn 3 and 4, my first year of college, meeting Toxic and falling in love with her. Meeting all of you guys. Two proms, one of which was my own.

Please, to all of you, young and old, don't make the same mistake I did, it cost me €1000 and a lot of pride, it could cost any one of us much more dearly.

The road is a dangerous place, take care.

*Thread unfinished*
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