Car crashes are the number one killer of teens. Eight teens a day are killed in car crashes reports the Center for Disease Control. In 2000 alone, 4,877 teen deaths were the result of preventable crashes according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). We ask ourselves, “How can we stop this? What must we do?” Let me tell you the only person who can change the number of teenage deaths due to car accidents is you. Behind the wheel you have a very big responsibility. Some of the many dangers for teen drivers are driving at night, different distractions, speeding, not wearing a seatbelt, and driving under the influence.
Driving At Night:
I will start with the first danger, driving at night. Many teenagers in the U.S. start driving at the age of 16, when they are sophomores or juniors in high school. As a 16 year old junior in high school myself, I know it is very dangerous to drive at night, especially alone. According to the Texas Transportation Institute, this is the leading cause of teen driving dangers due to factors like visibility challenges and slower response time because of fatigue. Your life is in your hands. Driving at night, particularly to somewhere you aren’t familiar with, can lead to accidents. If you are driving at night, it would be so much safer to drive with an adult.
This is a big cause of car accidents in our society. Some distractions may be texting, making calls, changing the radio, applying make-up, eating or reaching for something. By doing any one of these distractions, you may see your life flash before you if you are not careful. Using your cell phone while driving should be the least of your worries. If it is that necessary to use your phone, then pull off to the side and turn on your emergency lights. A report on t-driver.org found texting and driving causes reaction time to double and those drivers have a harder time staying in their lane and maintaining a consistent speed. Also changing the radio is not that important, so why risk it? Ladies, I know we are very concerned on how we look, but doing your make-up in your car is ridiculous. I mean it can wait until you arrive to your destination. Eating is also a big leading cause. Just get the food to go and eat it when you get home. I mean it is not going anywhere. These are just a few of the many distractions that can occur while driving.
Another danger would be speeding. Many teens my age are into racing on the freeway. Racing is not to be done on city streets. Racing with your friends does not make you or your car look cool. You can have a serious accident by speeding. Your destination is not going anywhere, so you should drive carefully.
Not Wearing a Seat Belt:
The fourth danger is not wearing a seat belt. Safety belts save over 13,000 lives every year reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. A safety belt is your best and last protection if you are in an accident. I don’t understand why it is so hard to put on a seat belt in a vehicle. It is there for you safety.
Driving Under the Influence:
Last but not least is the danger of driving under the influence. Drinking and driving is the number one reason teens have accidents. Just because you are at a party and everyone else is drinking doesn’t mean you should too. Don’t follow the crowd, be a leader. If someone offers you a drink tell them, “No thanks, I am driving.” “No” is not a hard word to say. Designated drivers save lives. If one of your friends is drinking, be a designated driver or call them a cab. By participating in any of these dangers your life can change in the blink of an eye. You are responsible for everyone and everything inside the vehicle.
When you are driving ask yourself, “is this worth it?” Do not risk your life for something so simple. The number of teens that are dying can change. Only teenagers can make the difference.You can make the change by driving safely and encouraging your friends to make driving decisions too. For every American teenager killed in a car crash, about 100 more are injured. Why be that teen? Stand up and make a difference today.