Hand Stands, Text Messaging, and Speeding

  • Published
  • By Col. Ken Stefanek
  • 39th Air Base Wing vice commander
I noticed two stories in the news this week that left me scratching my noggin... The first involved a 20-year old Alabama woman who, while visiting her boyfriend in Orlando, apparently decided the rides at Disney World or Universal Studios weren't exciting enough.

Her solution was to attempt a hand stand on a second floor balcony. She died on her way to a hospital after falling and hitting the ground headfirst. The second involved a 17-year old girl who was driving four friends along a winding two-lane highway at night to her parents' vacation home in western New York.

The girl, apparently bored by the conversation with her friends, who incidentally were members of an award-winning cheerleading squad and had all graduated from high school five days earlier, decided to exceed the speed limit while sending text messages to friends in another car. The girl lost control of her vehicle and slammed into an on-coming tractor-trailer, killing all five people in the car.

Simple choices with tragic results ... In both cases people failed to consider all the potential outcomes of their actions. Additionally, friends who were there failed to step in and stop the sequence of events before tragedy struck.

We are not immune to similar incidents. As we enjoy the summer, many of us are taking the opportunity to get out and explore Turkey. While doing so we may decide to save a few minutes on our drive by exceeding the speed limit. Simple choices with tragic results...

Did you know that by driving 10 mph over the speed limit you can save a whopping 15 minutes on your drive to the beach? Better yet, you can maybe save three to four minutes on your trip back from Adana. Unfortunately, going faster reduces the time available to react to unforeseen events like a person/vehicle suddenly jumping in front of you.

Given how often that seems to happen here, you have to ask yourself if the few minutes you're saving is worth the risk of someone losing their life. Simple choices with tragic results ... I ask that each of you consider the risks/rewards of your decisions and act accordingly. Doing so will enable you to continue to ensure freedom's future.