by Ben Johnson
As we all know, there are potential dangers on the road when we drive that could, at any moment, seriously hurt or even kill someone (including yourself). Things like rain, construction, sleet, or snow (not that we have much snow around here), but things of that nature are some things to consider. A good safe driver should always have their eyes on the road, and be prepared for quick changes to occur.
But the purpose of this article is not to inform you about nature’s deadly factors. Instead I’m here to talk about something more dangerous on the road; I’m talking about you. You, the drivers, are the most dangerous things out there that can mean the difference between a “fender-bender” and a visit to the “O-R”. That’s a lot of responsibility on one’s shoulders, but I don’t think it’s really quite hit some of you has it?
There’s already a risk factor on your reaction time and thinking ability when you get in your car and start the engine. But then you’re driving down the road, listening to a song and decide you want to change it on your iPod, CD, or the radio. When you made that decision, you just took part of your ability to react to something changing on the road, making the risk factor go way up, and making it more dangerous for the other drivers on the road. That doesn’t even factor in the fact that some of you are talking on your cell phones or, God forbid, even texting!
One night I was driving home and I received a text from someone. I would have much rather called back, but it would not have been appropriate at that time, and I needed to reply sooner than a half an hour which was how long it was going to take me to get home. There was no one on the road with me, and I thought I could be safe and give a short reply. So I started texting and driving. When I finished, I looked closely at the road and realized I had been driving for miles, and didn’t even notice how long I had been driving without noting the change of scenery. Texting and driving is dangerous and stupid; don’t do it.
With that being said, another stupid and dangerous thing on the road is a drunk driver. Drinking (drinking meaning getting s#@* faced and not remembering the night before) is a personal choice and freedom; I don’t care what you do with yourself. But when you’re drunk and decide to get on the road and drive, that’s when I take offense. The only thing I look down on even more is when the drunk driver is under aged. Yeah, I know you’re out there. I have two family members that were hit by drunk drivers, and one of the drunks was a 19 year old med- student on his way home from a party. He died.
The other time, it was grown man in his mid 30’s, and my grandmother paid the price for that night with her life. Drinking and driving is stupid and dangerous. Don’t do it.
So now what do we do? You still want to listen to music, drink and communicate with people. My advice is simple; have a “wing-man”. One person drives, the other does everything else. Then switch out; take turns being the pilot and the party bug. I know it’s hard to sit there and drive, then go out and do things with other people but having to be the designated driver.
But take that responsibility seriously, and do your best. It could mean the difference between who you see at graduation and those who can’t make it.