Name: Giulia Maggiori
From: Oxford, United Kingdom
Educate to eradicate: the solution lies in future generations
Educate to eradicate: the solutions lies in future generations
As a young woman living in the outskirt of Rome, driving has always been a necessity for me. However, due to some very sad and unfortunate family experience, my family has always been reluctant about letting me drive the so popular and equally dangerous “mini” cars that you are legally able to drive in Italy at the age of 14, or the even worse – in my parents’ view – scooters. Their fear is entirely justified and justifiable: my cousin died in a scooter accident while still very young (I was nine and my memories about what really happened are blurred and confused). But since this dramatic experience has deeply shocked my family, I have been educated to respect the rules of the road and the importance of driving safety.
At the age of 18, when I finally achieved the coveted driving license goal, I experienced first-hand how dangerous driving in a metropolis can be. Unfortunately, driving safety does not depend only on the individual driver, but it is influenced by all those around you: fellow drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. Imagine finding yourself driving in pouring rain, having poor visibility and going so slowly that you think your car can turn off and suddenly see a pedestrian appearing in front of you running across the road to find shelter from the downpour. What can you do at that moment? You can brake with poor results and pray your god, if you have one, praying that you have not run over a somewhat unconscious pedestrian who preferred to be safe from the rain rather than moving cars. Now imagine another scenario. You went clubbing, you didn’t drink anything because you are the designated driver, and you are also quite awake because you slept all afternoon knowing that you should have driven. You are driving quietly when your drunk friend, sitting right next to you, wants to play a joke on you and decides to apply the handbrake or turn the wheel. In a second you find yourself involved in a traffic accident: who can be blamed for all this? You have been careful and have done everything in your possession to be in the best conditions to be able to drive, so the fault is not yours. But how could this be predicted?
Too often, the responsibilities that passengers, pedestrians and cyclists have in car accidents are underestimated. This does not mean that all drivers are productive and attentive, but that if it is true that there are many reckless drivers there are many other pedestrians and cyclists who underestimate the dangers of the road as well. Road education should be taught from kindergarten to allow new generations to grow in awareness of the dangers that the road holds. Only by transmitting the correct information to future generations we can hope to eradicate the problem and to have a generation of future drivers, passengers, cyclists and pedestrians who are attentive, cautious and respectful not only of their lives but also that of others.