Driving is difficult and complex activity made all the more dangerous by our overwhelming familiarity with that very same activity. We grow up in cars, literally, moving from a car seat to a booster seat and finally the driver’s seat. Children are at home in cars, often eating, drinking, sleeping and watching video as they shuttled about the town from activity to activity.
As they enter their teen years, their graduation into the driver’s seat is almost as life changing as their actual high school graduation. For some, that graduation is more momentous, and not life changing, but life ending. Teen drivers face many challenges to driving, but the greatest challenge is simply surviving.
Young drivers are inexperienced; they do not have a lifetime of driving experience to fall back onto when something goes wrong. They are young and rash, impulsively deciding to race another car or “impress” their girlfriend by driving fast on a winding country road, just like the see done on TV or in the movies.
But those scenes from movies involve highly-trained, professional stunt drivers with specialized equipment driving a route that has been meticulously plotted and practiced, often in segments that can be spliced together seamlessly in the final cut.
Two teens were killed last weekend, when their vehicle missed a curve, went off the road and struck a tree, which split the car in half. Both the 18-year-old and the 17-year-old were ejected.
Graduated licenses are designed in the hope that a teen driver will develop the skills necessary to stay safe on the road by restricting their driving behavior. But once they are an adult, they have full adult driving privileges, but that does not mean they have fully developed the necessary skills.
Pennlive.com, “Two Pa. teens killed in crash after tree splits car in half,” Associated Press, May 17, 2015