Justin Zeng: Winner of the AutoAccident.com Essay Scholarship

Seven Moves Ahead

By Justin Zeng

What sets amateur chess players apart from the chess masters? Well, aside from the hours of practice, they can predict our moves before we even think about it and not only the next move but also calculate at least seven moves ahead of the amateur player. Similarly, governments globally have taken early measures to fight the coronavirus. In China, the calamity seems to be dying down already. Active measures such as locking down Wuhan mitigated further spread of the virus elsewhere. If not for these actions, thousands of lives would be lost. According to the Association for Safe International Road Travel (ASIRT), nearly 1.25 million people die in road crashes each year, on average 3,287 deaths a day. If everyone applied a similar proactive mindset to driving, countless deaths in road crashes could be prevented.

Volunteering as a Science Educator for the Pacific Science Center, I understand the difference education makes. Many students do not take driver education seriously, often falling asleep or zoning out in class. As reported by goliath.com, drivers who have taken driver education tend to understand the rules of the road more, have greater awareness of drugs, have more confidence, and defensive driving techniques. Driver education better equips you to not just protect yourself but also others. This is why I believe driver education should be required for every driver.

A popular myth is that accidents just happen. But research shows that actually 99% of crashes are preventable. Often drivers are too confident in their own ability to handle emergency situations and do not do the pre work. To reduce accidents, all drivers should plan their trips, evaluate their current situation and avoid possible scenarios from getting into accidents. Accidents are not a sudden event but a chain of events. By not being preemptive from the start, you are putting yourself and others at risk. Other effective ways to reduce accidents such as using indicator lights, driving at speed limit, wearing seatbelt were repeatedly emphasized in other essays.

During a family vacation, a detached boat trailer sped across the street, scrapping our minivan. Thankfully, no one was injured. Panic flashed through my mind as I watched it happen. When I asked my dad, who was driving that day, about how he acted during that crash, he simply said that he saw it coming, before the boat trailer even detached from the truck. By actively thinking of possible ways to avoid accidents, my dad saved not only our lives but also those in vehicles around us.

I pledge to plan my trips ahead and avoid potential dangerous situations. And even though preventable does not always mean prevented, if everyone thinks seven moves ahead, driving would be a lot safer. Sometimes looking seven moves ahead might not only save your king from a checkmate but also save yourself from a fatal car crash. Hopefully my essay was helpful, and thank you for considering me for your scholarship. 

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