Crash course on teen driving

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death of teens in America, and on average 16 to 19 die per day from injuries caused by motor vehicle crashes.

You are driving down a highway without another car in sight, and one of your friends sends you a message wondering when you will arrive at the mall. You take a quick look and text back that you will be there soon, and you see a car quickly approaching in front of you. You quickly swerve out of the way to the side of the road. A second more and the head-on collision could have killed everyone in both cars.

This is the case with a third of teen drivers. Distractions plague all drivers, from their phone to the passengers they bring with them, but young drivers are more likely to be distracted and cause a catastrophic event. Leaving their phones for even a second is a catastrophe. Today’s teens can’t afford to lose their Snapchat streaks or miss out on an event.

“Honestly who isn’t distracted while driving from other students and the radio?” said Peter Adams ’22.

Adams first got behind the wheel when he was 14, but did not start fully driving until he was 16. He luckily only had two mishaps when backing out, but nothing major. He was lucky to get a lot of practice before starting driver education.

“Get drivers ed done somewhat early, but get a lot of experience before it,” Adams advised.

Inexperience is a top cause of car crashes in teens, so it is important for students to get as much experience as they can with a parent or guardian before having to drive alone.

Drivers only have to look away for five seconds—the time it takes to cross a football field going 55 miles an hour—to cost a life.

Winter weather is a whole other threat to teen drivers. Just this week on Wednesday, Oct. 30 there was a five-car pile-up on Melrose Avenue just outside of West due to the snowy roads.

Drivers who are 18 and older can get their license without going to driver’s education, but they have to take a test to prove they know driving rules. However, drivers who are 17 and younger have to take drivers education to get their license in Iowa. It is suggested that students take driver education or at least practice with their parent or guardian so that they can have the experience to prove that they are a qualified driver.