The first time getting behind a wheel is just as pivotal as our first few steps or first words. Those moments, however, didn't come with so great of a risk. Sure, falling is part of growing up, especially when learning to walk, but aside from some bumps and bruises, most of us manage just fine.
When you first start to drive there's a much greater element of danger. You don't just fall on your tuckus when you're driving a half-ton vehicle at 60 MPH. You can seriously hurt or even kill yourself or others.
Driving may be a rite of passage, but it's not without its pitfalls.
So it's with trepidation that we send our children onto the roads, not knowing if they're truly ready. It could be their mistake, it could be someone else's, but when you're driving on a highway one mistake could end everything.
Thankfully for one teenage driver in New Hampshire his mistake didn't kill anyone.
Sam LaChance, an 18-year-old college student, was traveling on Route 101 just outside the Howe Reservoir in late January, when his Jeep Wrangler inexplicably crossed over into oncoming traffic. It struck a semi trailer head on.
Bank Promploy was driving behind the truck when it happened.
"There was a boom and a big fireball, just like in the movies," he told Sentinel Source.
The crash had caused a rupture in the tractor-trailer's fuel tank, it exploded shortly after the impact.
A van driving behind LaChance captured the collision on tape.
It's a dramatic crash, the kind you can only assume the drivers didn't survive.
LaChance was pulled out of the car by Promploy and the occupants of the van behind Lachance, Marc Cramer and his son John.
"Something had to be done," Promploy said. "You don't want to think about it."
They pulled LaChance out from burning wreckage, he sustained burns to his hands and was drifting in and out of consciousness. The hospital he was taken to didn't comment on his condition at the time, but did say he was listed as critical.
LaChance is expected now to make a full recovery. The driver of the truck sustained minor injuries and was shortly released from hospital.
"It's horrific. It's very unfortunate. I'm glad everyone survived," the driver, 66-year-old Jean Morency said.
Thomas Vanderbilt is the Dublin, New Hampshire Fire Chief, he echoed the driver's statement.
“It was a bad day for a lot of people,” he said. “But it could have obviously been worse."
No reason as to why LaChance drifted in the first place has been given, but alcohol or drugs is not believed to be involved.