Youth Forward Scholarship 2019 – Solutions to a Growing Epidemic

Name: Helen Weis
From: Decorah, Iowa
Grade: 12
School: Decorah High School
Votes: 1

My
hand clenched the handlebar above my seat, squeezing tighter and
tighter. My environment blurred as the speedometer climbed slowly
upward: 75, 80, 84, 90, 95, 102. I glanced cautiously toward my
friend as she constantly applied pressure to the gas petal. I had
already asked her to slow down, but she refused. Even though she was
driving almost double the speech limit, her eyes were not entirely on
the road. The blue light from her phone lit up her face as she
carried out a full conversation on text while simultaneously weaving
in and out of traffic. Butterflies clambered around in my stomach and
my eyes refused to blink as I peered out at the road ahead of me; I
was scared.

Traffic
deaths and accidents have integrated into our society and have become
a prominent cause of death today. The sad thing is most of the causes
pertaining to these accidents can easily be avoided. In my driver
education, the most beneficial thing I learned was the importance of
being prepared before driving. Simple things like adjusting my seat
and mirrors before I even turn the car on as well as putting my phone
in my bag or pocket helps me better focus when I actually start to
drive. Personally, I am easily distracted and these small, simple
steps I learned in drivers education have really helped me focus
solely on my surroundings when I drive instead of focusing things
going on inside my car.

Taking
into consideration the steps I mentioned above, I think the tragedy
driving can cause will be lowered if people work to eliminate their
own personal distractions. I am not saying all traffic accidents will
decease, but I think the numbers could be significantly lowered. Two
small changes I believe will help eliminate distractions are limiting
phone use and keeping up on car maintenance (if possible). Something
as simple as keeping one
’s
phone out of sight, and if it is absolutely necessary to be in
contact with someone, calling instead of texting. Secondly, making
sure one’s car is in proper condition before driving, like checking
the tires and keeping a clean windshield, will help decrease a
drivers mind from focusing on anything besides the road.

When
I am driving, I try and always be cautious of my surroundings for
both my safety and the safety of those around me. When the weather is
bad due to either rain, fog, or snow, I always turn my lights on and
drive slower to avoid sliding if I need to stop quickly. If I am
driving later at night and cross paths with another driver, I was
taught from drivers education to always make sure they are in control
and to be more cautious due to drunk driving. These steps help to
keep me in control while driving and also help protect those around
me.


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