Youth Forward Scholarship 2019 – Without a Single Scratch

Name: Halee Steffensmeier
From: Clarkson, NE
Grade: College Freshman
School: Clarkson High School
Votes: 0

As
an 18-year-old, I’ve spent little time on the road. My dad had been
taking me out to drive on the gravel roads since I was 14. I was in
an accident but walked away spotless. But, it caused my brother a
trip to the hospital. It was only last winter when my brother and I
were driving to school on a Tuesday morning. It had just snowed the
day before, so the gravel roads were icy. We were running late, as
usual, so I decided to go faster than I should have. Eventually,
going up a hill, I caught hold of a patch of ice that spun my car out
of my control. When I gained power of the steering wheel, I decided
to drive even faster to beat the school bell. Once I got on what I
thought was clean gravel, my brakes wouldn’t work as I approached a
stop sign. My initial instinct was to pound my foot on the brakes and
leave them there until I stopped. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to
gain control of the car and we hit a pickup coming from the opposite
way.

I
believe the most obvious problem with driving-related deaths, is the
speed limit. Recently, the highway near my house rose their speed
limit to 65 mph from 60 mph. People already use that limit loosely,
so it only causes more of a threat. Not only is it the speed that
kills, it’s the uneducated teenagers and adults who don’t take
the driver’s education classes seriously. When I took the class, we
had 8-hour sessions. 14-year-olds who would rather be doing anything
else aren’t going to pay attention this long. That is, for the kids
who actually attend classes. Nowadays, you don’t even have to take
a driver’s education class to get a license. You can just take a
test at the DMV that you may or not study for, and go from there. The
conditions for getting a license should be stricter. Better yet,
adults should have to go renewal classes and take more tests to
ensure they are still aware of the dangers of the road. It would
benefit more people than we all realize.


I ended up without a single
scratch on my body. Ultimately, my brother ended up only having a
minor concussion and a couple of bruises, but it is still a day I
will never forget. From that day on, I have become more a
conscientious driver and I don’t speed anymore. I take my time on
the ice and I learned to manage my time better. I make sure myself,
and all of my passengers wear their seatbelt. If I notice a friend or
family member driving irresponsibly, I take courage in telling them
my story and stressing the importance of safe driving. I thank God
every day that I still have a brother to take to school, and I
wouldn’t change those 10-minute conversations for the world.


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