Every teenager wants to get their license and starts looking forward to it from the moment they hit double digits; I was excited like anyone else to start working on getting my license until I wasn’t excited anymore. It starts with getting signed up for drivers training in order to get your permit. Learning how to drive while your mom and dad are in the passenger seat freaking out. They clutch the handle, that in my family is known as the “oh s***” handle. Thus leading to you getting frustrated because you know they’re overreacting, but just trying to take their criticisms with ease. Eventually having to tell them nicely that when they scream, all it does is distract you. It’s the most exciting and terrifying thing that many teenagers all experience.
Now I had my level one permit for only a few months of my freshman year. Then something terrible happens. One of my teammates and one of my classmates get into this horrible accident and lose both of their lives on impact. Now as a fifteen year old who has never experienced death before, it’s not something I took lightly. I didn’t drive for months after. Every time my mom asked me if I wanted to drive I told her no, I refused to out of fear.
Then one day my mom forces me to drive home from practice. I broke down on at the stop light in front of the school. Of course, I managed to pull myself together before I kept driving but it was rough. The 7-10 minute ride home from the school felt like an hour. I was on edge the whole way. Mom did manage to say she was proud of the way I handled it once we did arrive home.
While it was tough it was to actually drive after the accident, I’m happy my mom forced me to do it again. You can only wait so long after something like that happens, or you’ll never be able to properly do it again. It’s kinda like how that saying goes, “if you get knocked off the horse you have to get back up and try again.”It got easier after that. The more I drove, the more I got comfortable with it again. I may have been comfortable, but I was cautious, trying my hardest not to speed and to pay attention while I drove. I didn’t speak much when I started again, mainly because I really wanted to focus.
Mom didn’t let that last long either; she slowly started having longer and longer conversations with me when I was driving. Dad, however, didn’t want to drive with me at all from the start. I think while I was still getting all of my hours, he only rode with me for two of them, if that. The whole idea terrified him, and he really didn’t like that I was growing up at all.
Even after being okay with everything that had happened, I still wasn’t in a rush to get my license. Mom got mad at me one day because I kept telling her I didn’t want to drive. “How are you supposed to get your license and pass your test if you never drive?” This wasn’t calmly spoken either, moms have this screaming but talking thing down. It’s screaming to you, but don’t tell them that you think that. Mom was terrifyingly good at using it on me, and it’s how I always knew I was in trouble as a kid. To this day, I’ve always started crying when she uses it. So obviously when she said that, I burst out into tears. Which in my house is the wrong move to make. If you cry after mom yells at you, under no circumstance do you let her see you cry, or it will just upset her more.
So after that, every time I went anywhere with mom, I was forced to drive and get my hours. Only this time it wasn’t because I was scared to drive, I just didn’t want to. There was no urge to drive or even get my license. It was no longer this big great thing after freshman year. You know the dangers of driving but what you don’t know is the effect it can leave behind after something bad happens while driving.
The summer after the girls had passed away, another car accident really affected the cheer team and I. Once again I wasn’t a part of the crash, but someone I was close to was. She somehow managed to actually walk out of this terrible accident but not without a scratch. I saw how the accident changed her views on driving, how it limited her abilities and it just gave me more reason to not be excited to drive.
No matter how safely you drive, you can still end up getting seriously hurt. The accident wasn’t my friends' fault; a drunk driver swerved into her lane and almost killed her and her father. This amazingly cool idea of driving easily wasn’t something I saw as cool or fun. It became something serious, that could very easily lead to the end of a life with one mistake. It wasn’t something I wanted to be a part of anymore.
However, I still collected my hours, I still took the test after I turned sixteen and I still passed my test. Having my license was nice, and being able to drive by yourself is nice. What isn’t nice is how lonely it is after constantly having my mom in the passenger seat talking. So instead of talking the radio goes up in order to fill the quiet. What wasn’t nice was realizing how easy it is to mess up when you don’t have an adult in your ear telling you what to do all of the time.
Since I have gotten my license, I have almost been in two car accidents. One was when I looked down to turn on the air conditioner when I looked back up, I was close to rear-ending another driver. I only had my eyes off the road for a split second, in that time the car in front of me had come to a stop without my realization. When this almost accident took place, both of my parents were not only out of town but out of state. Mom was recovering from her back surgery. So they didn’t know about it until a later time that I almost crashed. I didn’t want to worry them while mom needed to rest and regain her strength, so I didn’t.
The second time was much more life threatening; I was coming back from Walmart and there’s this intersection that has you stopped, and you have to wait for both sides of the road to be cleared. Well, I checked both ways several times. However, on the last time, I made one stupid mistake; I forgot to double check the opposite side before taking off. That one little mistake almost cost me big time. Another car was coming on the other side of the road towards me. If they didn’t hit their brakes they would have made a direct hit into the driver's side door, a direct hit to me. Thankfully the other driver happened to be paying more attention than I was, and managed to slow down enough in time to prevent anything from happening. She didn’t even scratch my car.
Driving is something kids, teenagers, and even some adults should take more seriously. It is a sign of growing up and maturing, but it is those things for a reason. In order to drive you have to be mature enough to know the laws, and to not do things you aren’t supposed to while driving. You can’t be half awake and driving, because it’s something that requires your full attention. These things can be brought up in the driver's ed classes and not many will actually take it seriously until something forces them to open their eyes. Even after being shown the ugly, and terrible side of driving I still managed to mess up. Driving is more than freedom, and making the transition from teenager to adult. It has many sides, some that I hope no one will ever have to experience during their lifetime.