We need more emphasis on safe teen driving


Hunter Finerty, Web Editor

Teens across America tend to share one thing in common: we want to get the chance to learn to drive and hit the open road without our parents in tow. 

For most teens, this time comes at 15 or 16, when they get their learner’s permit. For those of us that have grown up in Kansas, it is the early age of 14. 

By this point in my life, I have been driving for more than a year. I realize that I am certainly not the best driver, but I manage to get myself to school and back each day alive. 

The third week of October each year is deemed National Teen Driver Safety Week, but I think we need to put more emphasis on safe driving for teens throughout the entire year. 

I have been in two wrecks: one minor fender bender and one instance in which my car was totaled. I have also been pulled over on the way home from work. Each of these events was uniquely terrifying. 

Every time I have experienced the jolt of being pulled over or being in an accident, I’ve realized how little we do to be safe on the road as teens. 

When I rear-ended another student on the way to school last April, I was made aware of how uncareful I am in rainy weather. 

Then in June, I was pulled over because I didn’t have my lights on after I closed at work one night, and I realized how lucky I was to get off with a warning, but also how little attention I was paying when I was exhausted and driving in the dark. 

Finally, when I was rear ended on the first day of school this year and my car was irreparable, I made the connection that real damage can be done in the blink of an eye. Even though this one wasn’t my fault, it was made clear that my peers are also undereducated when it comes to driving and aren’t cautious enough . 

Bottom line, teens need to be aware of the road around them and let go of their pride enough to be a little more safety-conscious. 

Fear of the road is essential when driving at this age. To be fully alert, we all need to be more aware of what could happen when we let our guard down. 

It may seem like an annoying cliche advocated by parents and online safety campaigns, but being safe and sober, as well as avoiding phone usage while on the road, is crucial to avoid big scares and real danger. 

So put down the phone; the SnapChat can wait for later. Don’t get behind the wheel if you aren’t fully able to concentrate, whether that’s due to intoxication, sleep deprivation or general stress and distraction. 

The safety of yourself, your passengers and anyone with whom you’re sharing the road has to be your priority. As teenagers, we may feel like we know everything and that we’re on top of the world, but driving is never an area where you can let your guard down.