Eyes on the road.
Driving while high, using Snapchat and or having four friends in the back seat has become the norm among teen drivers, and it needs to stop.
Texting and driving is not always what gets drivers into trouble. Even though it is common, with 95 percent of student drivers admitting to doing it, other distractions can be equally as dangerous.
Take other digital distractions, for instance: Social media platforms like Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter are as easy to access as a text message, and they all come with the temptation to pick up your phone on the road.
Not all distractions are digital. In their first year with a license, drivers are only allowed to have one non-family member in the car. This is probably the law that is broken most often by new drivers, as 98 percent of surveyed students admitted to having too many passengers. The chances of getting into an accident increase with each extra person that gets in the car, as each person represents a new distraction.
Having a few drinks and then getting behind the wheel is often seen as the “cardinal sin” of driving. Yet, alcohol is not the only impairing drug teens use before driving. 59 percent of students surveyed admitted to having driven while under the influence of drugs, not including alcohol.
There is a mentality among teenagers and new drivers that we are invincible; we tend to say to ourselves “oh, I’ll be fine,“ and proceed to take risks that should not be taken. Not only is your life at risk when you get behind the wheel, but it is important to be mindful of the lives that you could put at risk.
According to Driver’s Education teacher Chad Harris, the beginning of a solution to this problem lies in the modeling of parents and guardians. If children see their parents distracted while they drive, the child learns to do the same. It is imperative that parents and guardians set a positive example while behind the wheel.
If you can’t refrain from using your smartphone or using drugs, you can easily avoid getting behind the wheel. In Evanston, many places are within walking distance, and we have resources like Uber and even taxis if needed. Anything is better than getting behind the wheel when you are not operating at 100 percent.