BMHS Senior, A’Niaya Nieves, has had her driver’s license since July. As a new driver, she has experienced her fair share of accidents and near-accidents, however, one that took place at the beginning of the school year on Highland Avenue has completely changed her outlook on driving.
Late to school, stuck in bumper to bumper traffic, Nieves looked behind her and thought she could see her friend in the car there. To make sure it was him before embarrassing herself, Nieves texted her friend to put his hand out the window so she could see if he was behind her. Afterwards, she leaned over to put her phone down, easing her foot off the break and smashing into the car in front of her. Both cars pulled over. She began crying hysterically and apologizing profusely. The man she hit looked at his car, then at her car, and told Nieves that he knew it was a mistake, there was no damage, and that she should just go to school.
Nieves said of the experience, “I have never been so grateful. I think it kind of made me more aware. Now, I put my phone to the side, I don’t text anything. Things can happen and you really need to be on your A-game because if it had been someone else, they probably wouldn’t have let me go. It would’ve been much more than I bargained for.”
At first, A’Niaya Nieves didn’t see having a license as a priority. It was something that she was hesitant about because of the heavy responsibility that came with being behind the wheel. Although Nieves trusted herself, she knew other drivers weren’t as reliable and that she would have to be careful around them. However, once she got her license, she had a whole different mindset.
“I would definitely say to take it seriously. I know that when I first got my license I was like freedom! I can taste it everywhere! Now, it’s like I’ve developed an ‘oh that can’t happen to me.’ [mentality]. It’s like I’ve developed this sense of immortality where I think that nothing can happen to me, and I can tell you I’ve had quite a few accidents since I’ve got my license and I’ve only had it for a few months.”
Apart from realizing she needed to be more aware, serious, and responsible on the road, Nieves took the kind gesture from the man involved in the accident to heart. Unable to express how thankful she was, she decided to reciprocate his kindness to other drivers.
“I think it changed me, I would like to be that for someone else. People have almost hit my car, and if it’s an accident, I will be the first one to be like, you know what? I am not even upset with you, it was an accident… I feel like everyone deserves a break sometimes. I feel like I want to do the same nice things that everyone does for me.”