Safe driving is for everyone

As STA students, we should break the stereotype that teens are bad drivers together.


by Anna Hafner, Staff Photographer

As I drive down Ward Parkway each weekday morning, my tired eyes opening wider the closer I get to school. The cold leather steering wheel, music and bright headlights of the cars going the other direction help me stay alert the whole way. As cars continuously switch lanes back and forth, I stay to the right but check my mirrors more often than not; I am a defensive driver.

The car that zips right in front of me slams on their brakes; they obviously did not have enough room to cut in front of me going that fast. On the back window is a “St. Teresa’s Academy” sticker, the same one I have on mine. I see the glow of a phone screen light up her face at the stoplight as I follow this car down the street. There is a difference between this driver and me; a difference that is not age or experience, but rather attentiveness. Teenage drivers should focus on safe driving as a healthy lifestyle choice.

Rather than adopting the stereotypical teenage “style” of reckless driving, STA students should be more aware of their surroundings. Reckless driving contributes to unneeded stress behind the wheel. Constantly speeding contributes to paranoia of getting pulled over or getting in an accident. While there are legal repercussions to speeding, the stress caused from a reckless and unpredictable driving style affects teen drivers more than they let on.

A near miss or close call while driving recklessly may cause some teenage drivers to pay closer attention. However, unfortunately, others may not be as phased. This is worrisome and dangerous for all drivers on the roads; not just teenagers.

When school-wide emails are sent out asking students to be cautious of their driving on the side streets near STA, as students as well as members of the community, we should be taking these pleas seriously. Speed limits are in place for a reason. There is no way to tell whether a walker may be crossing the street as you speed around the corner way too fast, maybe even with your cellphone in hand. Kids, neighbors and parents around STA should feel comfortable and safe with the way we, intelligent students, are choosing to drive.

Being told, “you are the slowest driver ever” should not be taken as an insult. In many ways, I equate “slow” with cautious and aware. Being a “slow” driver to many high school students does not entail going under the speed limit or even the speed limit but rather not speeding excessively.

Habits like speeding excessively or texting while driving can be broken, and for the promotion of a healthy lifestyle, should be broken. I encourage you to, every time you get behind the wheel, think about the safety and well-being of yourself as well as others.