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How to Save a Life (Your Life)

Distracted driving has proven to be dangerous and fatal in many cases.  Just as parents tell their teenage children when getting their driving permit and their first driver’s license, driving is a big responsibility.  There is so much happening on the road that drivers need to pay attention to including traffic signals, traffic signs, lanes ending, potholes, severe weather, pedestrians, and other drivers.  Distracted driving creates problems by taking your focus off of all of these things.  Even a split second of inattention can be hazardous.

The writers and producers of Grey’s Anatomy chose to highlight this issue on numerous occasions.  Most recently, they used the departure of one of the central cast members as an opportunity to touch on the topic again.  In Season 11, Episode 21, neurosurgeon Derek Shepherd lost his life after being broad sided by a truck on a winding road.  Derek had just saved a couple of people who were involved in a car crash and waited on the paramedics to arrive.  After saving them, Derek gets in his car and pulls out with his car stretched across the road near a bend in the road.  He was preparing to pull off when he hears his cell phone ring, which at that moment is of the utmost importance to him as he was having reception issues when trying to call his wife earlier. 

But that important phone call turned out to be his last.  A truck came speeding around the bend and had no time to stop and avoid hitting him.  The episode goes on to detail the issues that prevented him from getting proper treatment after the accident, but the cause of the accident is of equal importance.  The episode is aptly titled “How to Save a Life” and it features on of the show’s most notable songs “How to Save a Life” by The Fray.  The song was written about a teen struggling with depression, but they created a website allowing fans to create their own video interpretations.

You can save a life (your own) by giving up distracted driving.  The Center for Disease Control (CDC) lists three forms of distracted driving: Visual (taking your eyes off the road), Manual (taking your hands off the steering wheel), and Cognitive (taking your mind off of driving).  Distracted driving includes things like talking on the phone, texting, taking pictures, putting on makeup, eating, drinking, and searching for dropped items. According to, distracted driving was responsible for 424,000 motor vehicle injuries and 3,154 motor vehicle deaths in 2013.  

The chorus of The Fray’s song says “I would have stayed up with you all night / Had I known how to save a life.”  Use this information to encourage people to keep their eyes and minds focused on the road.  Distracted driving has cost many people their lives.  It doesn’t have to cost any more.  Spread this message and save a life.

“It’s a beautiful day to save lives.”
~Derek Shepherd

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