Teen Driving… Yikes!

Is Driving REALLY Dangerous?

By: Abby Pond, Jacob Williamson

Teens tend to think that they are amazing drivers, but are they really? Are there different dangers for teen drivers than there are for adult drivers? Elianna Hernandez, Senior at Snow Canyon High School and a driver herself believes that the most dangerous part of driving as a teenager is the distractions that come with the license, “when they have a lot of friends in their cars, it is super easy to get distracted and just stop paying attention.” Each new driver will face many distractions. These can be anything from cell phones and chatty passengers to the latest song from their favorite artist blaring on the radio. Early on, new drivers may be careful to stay sharp and avoid those distractions.The six month rule exists so teen drivers can learn to drive safely free of that distraction, but there are other distractions.

There have been many teen crashes that have happened at Snow Canyon High School. Gavin Lewis is a student that has crashed at our school during our chaotic lunch hours. This is what happened in his crash,  “I was driving straight in my truck and a girl backed up into me and my truck. It wasn’t my fault” . People get too excited when it’s lunch time and don’t worry about safety. Most of the crashes at our school happen during lunch. Multiple teen drivers were asked the farthest they have driven and if they were calm or nervous. Gavin Lewis said “I drove from Logan, Utah to St. George and I wasn’t nervous at all. It’s actually relieving being able to just relax and listen to music.” Brady Cox was asked the same question and he said “It’s fun because when you’re driving on the highway you can drive really fast and it gets fun until the traffic starts to come. Getting my license was the best decision I have ever made.”

Another distraction can include phones. Teens have their whole life on their phone and when you see it light up or hear it vibrate, it is hard to resist looking at the notification even while driving. According to edgarsnyder.com 32.8% of high school students have texted or e-mailed while driving and 12% of distracted drivers in crashes that resulted in death have been teens aged 15-19. That doesn’t sound like a large percentage so many think that it really isn’t that big of a deal but only 6.4% of drivers in the United States are that age. That is the same as every single teen driver getting in a crash twice. Drivers under the age of 20 are the largest percentage of distracted drivers.

The more comfortable teens get behind the wheel, the more likely they are to text or engage in other risky behaviors. Even having a friend along for the ride can up the risk of a crash. Over time and with more experience you will become a better driver and be less likely to crash. Adults have different dangers because of their experience. They have faster reaction times and also know how to react in a bad situation. Teens aren’t able to react as fast because they don’t have the same experience. 

Teens shouldn’t fear driving but they should be aware of their environment and the dangers that come in that environment. Reducing the amount of distraction that comes with a license and driving can increase the safety a teen feels while driving.