Youth Forward Scholarship 2019 – Slow and Steady Makes it Safe

Name: Karianna Larsen
From: Madison, Wisconsin
Grade: College Freshman
School: James Madison Memorial High School
Votes: 0

The
road, blacker than usual, did not catch my eye and blended in with
the dark night sky. Once I settled on the perfect song to drive with,
I pulled out of the driveway. Not even thirty seconds had passed
before I was spinning. The brakes seemed to forget how to stop and
everything I saw was a whirlwind until I hit the snowbank. Taking a
deep breath, I realized I was okay, and while my car would be stuck
for the next half hour as neighbors pushed it out, that was the least
of my concerns. If I had been going faster, on a busier street, I may
not have gotten through without a scratch. After this experience, I
truly realized the dangers of driving that my parents had always
warned me about, and now navigate the roads with much more caution
than before.

Driver
education contains very important curriculum to help new drivers make
safe decisions and act appropriately if the unexpected occurs.
However, sitting in a classroom for two hours everyday in addition to
school is not the most exciting thing to do. For me and many of my
peers, driver education was like any other class – you went, tried to
pay attention, but eventually zoned out. While missing an equation in
algebra won’t do much, not listening during driver education could
ruin your life…literally. With this in mind, driver education can
look for ways to make their teaching more engaging for students and
offer more hands-on classroom work. That way, students are not given
the option to simply tune out the teacher and must participate. By
encouraging active learning, driver education can play an important
role in reducing driving-related deaths.

As
many on the road took driver education decades ago, just introducing
better teaching methods won’t solve all problems. Another step that
can be taken to reduce deaths caused by driving is an adjustable
speed limit. Too many times during bad weather, people drive the
regular speed limit when it isn’t advisable to do so. Therefore,
areas that frequently see snow, ice, or heavy rain should implement
modified speed limits. All this would require is simply adding
another sign below the regular speed limit sign informing drivers of
the reduced speed limit during bad weather. This causes drivers to
become more aware of not only the current road quality but also how
fast they should actually be going, despite what the regular speed
limit is.

From
nearly getting in an accident, I have become safer on the road and
educate my friends on how I minimize the dangers of driving. Now, I
cue my music before touching the gas pedal and place my phone out of
reach. In addition, I make sure to allow extra time to get to my
destination if roads are bad instead of rushing and endangering my
safety. If more people make simple changes like these to their
driving routines, countless lives can be saved.


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