Senior Mag 2023: Cars crash, but friendships last

August 30, 2023 — by Shannon Ma and Minsui Tang
Two seniors recount the times they’ve been tremendously humbled while driving.

The driver’s license: the golden ticket to freedom and independence, but also — too often — recklessness and impaired judgment. Truth be told, the young adult brain is not fully developed until age 25, and unfortunately, teenage driving serves as solid proof of this fact. Two senior drivers, Allison Tan and Shaan Sridhar, reflect on times when impulsive choices behind the wheel led to potentially fatal ends.

In Shaan’s junior year, he was often in a rush to drive home after school. It didn’t help that students would stroll lazily around the student parking lot at the pace of sloths, blocking transit. As a joke, Shaan and his friends would pull their cars up right next to some students to give them a light scare (red flag #1), and honk them to move out of the way. Shaan’s best friend, Lucas Dennis, for example, would often walk up to Shaan’s car and put his hands on the car to prevent Shaan from moving; the two would do this jokingly on a daily basis (red flag #2). One day, Shaan pulled up next to a walking Lucas and he solemnly promises, “I thought I honked, but maybe I didn’t, and he didn’t move.”

Next thing he knew: “I ran him over.”

Or so he thought — don’t worry, there was no blood or gore! Shaan had lightly tapped Lucas with his car, and Lucas “completely fell to the ground” in a Flat Stanley moment as Shaan’s car rolled up the back of Lucas’s heel.

“I went into panic mode and immediately reversed,” Shaan recalled. “[Lucas] was just lying on the floor, partially under my car. I didn’t really run him over.”

While Lucas’s feet remained intact, his shoes, unfortunately, suffered a different fate. A beloved pair of Adidas UltraBoosts were torn apart, never to be worn again. 

Shaan learned a lesson: “Cars are pretty powerful,” he said.

As a newly licensed driver, Allison Tan, our esteemed senior class president, considered herself quite skilled — surely, those back-and-forth practice runs with her dad to her work would adequately prepare her for the knowledge and experience she needs to become the master of the road.

Allison’s best friend, Elsa Blom, wanted to witness her amazing driving skills firsthand, so the duo decided to have Allison drive Elsa’s car approximately 500 feet from Saratoga High to her house. 

With Elsa in the passenger seat, Allison was ready to conquer. Right before making the turn, a car was approaching from the other side; Allison decided to risk it all and to make the turn before the car —

And she did. Elsa’s car passed quite meticulously before the other car. Just when Allison thought she had proved her worth, the view in front of them shifted drastically to the right. Before they knew it, Elsa’s car ran straight into a tree trunk outside of Saratoga High.

It turns out, Allison was so focused on making the turn before the approaching car that she had forgotten to recover the steering wheel — the car overturned and crashed straight into a tree, smoked and dented. 

“I was sobbing and freaking out,” Allison said. “I was like — I’m not going to college; I’m not going to get married; I’m not getting my license; I’m getting my permit revoked.” 

But thankfully they didn’t actually happen. Elsa ended up driving them back to Allison’s house without the car exploding somehow, and although Mother Blom held a small grudge against Allison for the next few months, their friendship persisted and grew even stronger from that traumatic experience.

“I learned that Elsa is a very forgiving person, and I really admire that about her,” Allison said. “But what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. And this just goes to show how strong our bond is.”

Tags: Car crash, fun
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