It seemed real, and that was the point.

A mock accident played out recently in front of local students, who looked on somberly.

Rescue personnel and law enforcement scampered around the scene, tending to the two injured in the wreck and zipped up the fatality in a body bag.

It’s graduation time, and kids celebrate, and sometimes they celebrate the wrong way.

The mock accident is a staple around here, and should be in every community across the country.

When we are young, we feel like we are 10 feet tall and bullet proof.

Yet, the truth is, cemeteries are filled with young people who weren’t 10 feet tall and bullet proof. They are human beings who made the mistake of either drinking and driving or getting in a vehicle in which the driver had been drinking.

Throw in the lack of seat belts and texting, and you have the perfect storm for tragedy.

None of us are invincible, and even though we complain about the aches and pains of growing old, it’s what we all want — long, healthy, happy lives.

When we take added, unneeded risks by drinking, texting and not buckeling up, it often ends up taking people away from us before their time.

It is hard enough to navigate driving, worrying about what the other drivers are doing, will do and wondering what the heck they are thinking.

We are taught to drive defensively; to be aware of what other drivers are doing.

Driving becomes so routine, especially when we take the same route day-in and day-out, that we lose focus. We mentally put on our cruise control and let our minds drift, singing along to music, talking and ignoring what we are doing.

So, if driving is hard, why make it even harder by drinking and texting? Why take the risk by not wearing a seat belt?

We know the answers to those questions, and I hope the students who took part in the mock accident and the ones who watched it think twice before getting behind the wheel or getting into a vehicle.

Graduation is something to celebrate, but it should not be the last celebration.

It is not even the biggest celebration we have in our lives. There are so many more events that happen to us that are worth celebrating.

But those celebrations won’t happen if we do not take driving seriously.

I have been to a few mock accidents, and every time it gets to me.

These accidents happen every day in this country, but it is not until they happen in our community to the people we love that we take them seriously.

Let’s hope the people watching this mock accident — kids and adults — understand how important driving is and understand it takes our full attention.

Let’s make sure mock accidents are the only ones we hear about.

 

Patrick Murphy, editor-publisher of the Humphrey Democrat and Newman Grove Reporter in Nebraska, is a former assistant managing editor of The Telegram.