Accidental, but not inevitable

Cautious driving by teen drivers stops accidents

Exiting+the+school+parking+lot+became+more+difficult+after+an+accident+left+a+car+stalled+in+the+middle+of+the+road+on+the+first+day+of+school.+The+airbag+went+off+and+the+Chevy+Impala+was+totaled%2C+but+no+one+was+hurt.

Exiting the school parking lot became more difficult after an accident left a car stalled in the middle of the road on the first day of school. The airbag went off and the Chevy Impala was totaled, but no one was hurt.

Danielle M Carlisi, Co-Editor-in-Chief

The first day of school and it started with a bang literally.

A car accident occurred on the first day of school, right outside of the parking lot. And it was me. 

Yes, the parking lot is hell and yes, accidents happen; but they are sometimes avoidable. 

My story is not unique compared to others. My mind was elsewhere while driving and as soon as I realized I was accelerating towards a stopped carkeep in mind it was only at about 5 m.p.h.  it was too late to avoid the collision.

And just like that, my airbag went off. Smoke poured out of my windows. My car got towed, and now it’s never coming back. It was totaled. The embarrassment that followed me home after wrecking a car my family owned since 2009 still lingers and it’s been a week.

My parents didn’t kill me because they know accidents happen and they were relieved when I walked away with no injuries. They knew how bad it could have been. Teenagers are three times more likely than adults aged 20 and older to be in fatal car accidents, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). This fact might be boiled down to lack of experience, but inexperience isn’t the only factor affecting the road. 

Teenage car accidents happen all the time, but why? The leading causes of car accidents include: inexperience, drowsiness, distractions, nighttime driving, driving with teen passengers, not using seatbelts, recklessness and impaired driving, according to the CDC. These mistakes are reckless. Teens take driving courses and tests to drive on the road, but then they turn around and ignore the most important rule of driving: being cautious and aware.

Accidents happen, sure. Sometimes they’re out of the driver’s control and someone hits them. A driver can make a fatal mistake, despite a clean record or self-confidence, so awareness is vital for every driver. 

But the bottom line is this: avoiding an accident can be possible and teens need to be more aware. The first step is to eliminate distractions in the vehicle, which means having no loose items in the car to be distracting and putting away phones. Another step is to lessen the amount of passengers in your car because having a teen passenger doubles the chances of a fatal car crash, according to TeenSafe.

Instead of the highway being the scariest place to drive, it’s actually the school parking lot. It has people yelling, cars honking, student’s walking and teenage rage. It’s intimidating. The stressful nature of the parking lot alone was enough to take my guard down and cause an accident, but it won’t be that way anymore. Finding calm in the chaos is vital and searching deep to find even a sliver of patience after a long school day would help. The parking lot would be safer if everyone slowed down, followed road rules and showed kindness.

Causing a car accident is one of those things that follow you forever, especially if someone can’t walk away from the scene. Driving is not a simple task, it’s a dangerous activity that can wreck a life in a heartbeat on any given day and it requires the utmost attention of every driver on the road.

We’re all in a hurry, but to be on time isn’t worth the possibility of a tragedy.