Name: Kathleen Medrano
From: Norwalk, CA
Be A Hero: Get Educated and Protect the People
Driver education is important in developing a safe driving environment for everyone, including pedestrians, motorcyclists, and cyclists. Although car accidents are inevitable, there are ways in which we can prevent and reduce such incidents. Driver education gives us the knowledge of traffic rules and safety precautions to prevent potential accidents, such as reducing distractions, being aware of our surroundings, having routine vehicle maintenance, and choosing educated decisions based on your and your environment’s condition. For instance, the decision not to drive while being under the influence, or sleep deprived, and during terrible weather conditions can all significantly reduce your chances of getting into a car accident. You can positively impact our society by demonstrating your knowledge of driver education.
I’ve never experienced a car accident throughout my life; however, I have experienced a case where instances could’ve been a deadly accident. I was 11 years old at the time and I was with my family on our way to Ikea. My dad was at the stoplight intersection, heading straight. The lights turned green and as my dad stepped on the accelerator to pass the intersection, a driver on our left perpendicular to us was speeding to run through the red stoplight. Thankfully, my dad reacted quickly enough to hit the brakes, avoiding the speeding vehicle. I remember the dropping sensation of my stomach and my heart stopping as me and my family jolted forward from the impact of the brakes. Thanks to driver education, my father demonstrated his alertness to his surroundings and prevented what could’ve been a deadly accident. Drivers speeding through red lights isn’t uncommon. I’ve often seen drivers rushing through the intersection to beat the yellow light. That is why, as a driver, not only is it important to know the traffic rules regarding light signals and to know that yellow means to slow down and prepare to complete a stop, but also to always be aware and cautious of your surroundings. Aside from my experience, I have heard and witnessed several vehicle accidents and bad driving behaviors from family and friends. One significant incident that I remember witnessing was my uncle in an emergency hospital, recovering from a motorcycle accident in which a truck driver merged into my uncle’s lane without checking his blind spots. My uncle was hit by the side of his motorcycle and flew off his bike, causing total wreckage and major injuries to his whole upper body. We were told by the doctor that it was a miracle for him to still be alive after that accident. It was both terrifying for my cousins and my dad, knowing the possibility that the accident could’ve been life-threatening.
Out of every car accident, driving under the influence has been the leading cause of collisions and tragedies on the road. This doesn’t just apply to alcohol but also drugs, specifically marijuana. As we know today, recreational and medical use of marijuana has been legalized in many states in the US. Operating a vehicle while under drugs and alcohol is extremely dangerous. They can impair one’s vision, reaction time, and movements on the road. I know more people that have made the right decision not to drive under the influence; however, I know a few that didn’t. Unfortunately, I have heard of friends who have driven while high on marijuana. Some admitted to their mistake and others justified their irresponsible actions by stating that the drug effects have already worn off from drinking water and passing time. I have always advocated no driving while under the influence of alcohol and drugs. In addition, I have advised these friends to not repeat it as I explained that they can risk the lives of others including themselves. It’s best to expect the unexpected. Although being on the road is unpredictable at times, you can take safety precautions to keep yourself and others safe. If my father was under the influence while driving to Ikea, I highly doubt that he would’ve had the same reaction time and response as he did then. It could’ve been an unfortunate tragedy.
In conclusion, we can take preventative measures to avoid car accidents and tragedies in various ways based on all the instances. We can get educated in traffic laws to know how to react to traffic signals and signs. A yellow signal means you should slow down and give yourself enough time to react, whether proceeding slowly through the intersection before the red light or making a complete stop once it turns red. When merging into another lane, it’s crucial to check your mirrors and your blind spots for other vehicles, especially smaller vehicles. Motorcycles are significantly smaller in size compared to a standard car, so it’s more difficult to detect them on the road. You never know when a motorcyclist is beside you in your blind spot, so looking over your shoulder is important. It’s important to always be cautious and aware of your surroundings. Even though we will always have reckless drivers on the road, it’s helpful to know when and how to react appropriately when dealing with an irresponsible driver. We can’t control other drivers’ actions, but we can control ours. We can also use our voice to advocate for safe driving and stopping people from driving under the influence. We can educate other people about the risks and consequences they can cause for their irresponsible actions. Your life and other people’s lives are far more important in this world than driving on the road while under the influence, potentially risking yourself and others. The destination can always wait. You have the choice to drive the next day or when it’s safe to do so. When it comes to death, there isn’t a choice, so make the right decision. All that I’ve stated that others can do to be a safer driver also applies to me. As a new driver, I want to demonstrate myself as a good role model on the road by using the knowledge I’ve learned in my driving school. I will continue to practice all the rules and safety measures I’ve learned from school and experience. I will also continue to advocate for making educated decisions. I know that my voice can be powerful in saving myself and others.
Typically, when we think of heroes, we think that they’ve achieved that label for their outstanding and remarkable acts; however, I strongly believe that everyone has the potential to be a hero. Acts as simple as being a responsible driver can make you a hero. The most important step in becoming a hero is getting educated and using your voice to advocate for what is right.