Teen driving safety

Parents forgetting about you, not being able to go out whenever you want, having to plan rides to be able to get to places are all things that encourage teens to get their learner’s permit or license as soon as they can. Being able to do so as soon as the age of 14 has its ups and downs. With the teenagers driving death rates going up by 19% since last year, and the fact that one teenager is killed every hour in a car crash, it makes us look deeper into what is causing our youth to be involved in so many types of accidents.

Getting the chance to practice with an adult for the first year is a very good opportunity for parents to teach their kids what to do under many circumstances. But laws change, and not all parents are updated on all traffic laws, and are finding themselves making mistakes.

When our district offered Driver’s Ed courses, students got the opportunity to learn about the laws, what to do during many different scenarios, get practice for a whole semester and learn to be better defensive drivers.

“We covered more than just laws, I think that made a big difference for the kids,” former Driver’s Ed teacher David Nigg said.

Because of our major budget cut, students now have to pay for private courses that range from $300 to $400 depending on the institution. They provide the same services, with the only difference being that not everybody has the money to pay for the classes.

As the Kansas Driver’s Handbook says “Driving is a privilege, not a right.” Driving becomes a necessity and teens are in some way or another rushed to obtain their license that they don’t take the time to learn about the road and the risks they are exposed to when by themselves. The risks also becomes higher if we add up all the distractions that we have in our surroundings. Ranging from loud music, eating, putting on make-up, our very own friends and of course texting. They might seem like little everyday things, or even things that you are supposed to adapt to, but in reality they can cause us major distractions and  major tragedies.

Keeping in mind all the statistics and facts about teen driving accidents and fatalities, let’s think of driving as a big responsibility and not an everyday task. The following are important tips to keep in mind when you hit the road:


  • Pull over to the side of the road or into a parking lot to use your cell phone.
  • Keep music to a moderate volume. It can distract you from hearing sirens from emergency vehicles and horns from other drivers who are trying to warn you.
  • Wear your seat belt. On average, more than 11,000 lives are saved annually in the U.S. just by wearing seat belts.
  • Resist the urge to race, hill-jump and otherwise compete with other vehicles on the road. The consequences aren’t worth it.
  • Be especially careful backing out of your parking place. Make sure the car parked behind you also isn’t backing up.
  • Use courtesy and common sense. Don’t do anything that will cause other drivers to have to slam on their brakes or swerve to avoid you (like pulling out in front of someone or swerving into their lane).
  • Believe it or not, wet roads are the most dangerous, they mix with the oil and grease from the ground and make it very slippery. Slow down to account for the conditions, and keep in mind that it takes longer to brake.
  • Keep an ice scraper in your vehicle and your wiper fluid container full.