Causal Essay

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Sample Essay #2

This is another essay written by a student at another college. He was not required to use a source, but he does cite an authority in his essay. See if you think it is effective. Watch for the thesis; see if you can trace the cause/effect.

Tony Mitteer
ENG 101
Oct 96

I stopped at the white stripe and anticipated a green light. As I waited, a car with a young family returning from Sunday service flew through the red light and collided with another car traveling the opposite direction. The force of impact was so great that glass from the wrecked cars gashed my sunroof forty feet away! The father driving the family vehicle was the only occupant wearing a seatbelt. Consequently, he was the only one to survive the impact. He had diverted his attention from the road for only a moment, and as a result killed his family. Since witnessing the accident, my view regarding seatbelts and the importance of constant concentration while driving has changed radically.

There are many popular reasons why people don't wear their seatbelts. Seatbelts are uncomfortable; seatbelts can cause internal injuries; it is better to be thrown clear of the vehicle; seatbelts might trap you in a burning vehicle. There is really only one reason for wearing seatbelts: seatbelts save lives. I watched unforgiving proof of this statement. I witnessed the death of three innocent children due to the absence of seatbelts. Authorities at the scene of the accident claimed that if all the occupants would have been wearing seatbelts, they would have sustained only minor injuries. Now, anytime I get into a vehicle, the first thing I do is buckle up.

Often a red light or a stop sign is ignored by the driver of a vehicle simply because he or she is preoccupied with a conversation or deep in thought. Even though it is true that seatbelts save lives, the best way to save lives is to avoid the accident in the fist place. Now, every time I drive, I think to myself, "Today I could have an accident." This forces me to concentrate on my driving, and since I have been doing that, I haven't even come close to having an accident.

Often just one incident can totally redefine the way a person thinks. In my case, witnessing a fatal accident changed my thinking. I faithfully wear my seatbelt and make a conscious effort to concentrate fully on my driving. Even though the death of a young family occurred, my driving habits have changed drastically since that accident, and I am thankful that something good has come from what otherwise was so tragic.

Remember--the causal essay answers the question "why?" more than any other. If you are answering the question "How?" you may be writing more of a process essay. Read carefully and be sure it is the cause/effect relationship that is being proved.

If you have any questions or problems with topics, using your source, etc., please be sure to contact me.