Youth Forward Scholarship 2019 – Reflecting back on the experience and shifting toward the future

Name: Erik Charles Hansen
From: Mesa, Arizona
Grade: Sophomore
School: Arizona State University
Votes: 15

I
have had my drivers license since June 2016. Knock on wood, I have
not been involved in an auto accident or even received a parking
ticket! I have to give credit to those who taught me how to drive: my
school, my family and the public.

I
took a driving education course at my high school. The simulators
were ancient, and the videos seemed to be from the eighties, but they
helped me gain an understanding of what was expected behind the
wheel. The classroom instruction assisted me in learning the rules of
the road to pass the written test.

After
obtaining a learner’s permit, my family allowed me to practice
driving in an actual car on real streets. My parents took to heart
how many hours of practice I needed regarding daytime and nighttime
driving. Living in the Arizona valley does not allow for many
weather-related driving opportunities. So when it would rain, my
family would grab the car keys and we would go for a drive! I can
honestly say I exceeded the minimum driving hours required to pass my
high school driving class.

Finally,
I must thank the public. Observing their driving habits on a daily
basis helped educate me on making decisions in different situations.
I have witnessed blatant speeding, multiple lane changes, ignored red
lights, and signs being treated as suggestions. Watching other road
violations has helped me become patient and to better anticipate
other drivers to make the wrong decision. As it has been pointed out
to me, driving a car can be considered handling a death machine.
Proper education along with practice is key in reducing errors.
Anything that can reduce errors is invaluable, as errors can lead to
accidents, disabilities and even death.


Due
to the commonality of licensed drivers, it seems responsibility is
not looked upon as important. People forget basic safety rules and
can fall into bad habits. I would propose that all licensed drivers
pass a written test every five years and a driving test every 10.
Doing this would not only renew honor but update new residents on the
different rules. Does a Minnesotan know what to do in a dust storm?
Rules change over time as well. My parents were taught to place their
hands on the upper half of the steering wheel. With advances in
safety (inflatable airbags), it is now recommended to drive with the
driver’s hands on the lower half of the wheel. I also think
distracted driving is a major contributor to errors committed on the
road. I vow not to drive and handle my phone and I try to limit the
amount of food in the car. I do not believe a driver can give their
full attention while eating a burger and many seats have been ruined
with a spilled drink. While driving I try to be mindful. I allow cars
to merge, I drive defensively and I do not force my way into traffic.
It may take a little longer, but it is better to arrive late than
dead.


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