Steer Clear of Disaster


Grace Daniel

With so many drivers at Brashier, it’s important for Brashier students to be safety-conscious while driving. (Photo by Grace Daniel)

Many high-school students, especially at Brashier, drive themselves to school every day.  Despite the convenience of automobiles, driving accidents are the leading cause of death for people ages fifteen to twenty-nine, and teens ages sixteen to nineteen are three times more likely to be involved in a fatal car accident. While they have passed their driving tests to receive their licenses, are they really prepared for the roads?

“I think a big way South Carolina could help to solve driving problems would be to increase the legal driving age. Fifteen and sixteen-year-olds are too young to be able to drive responsibly, and I believe that it would be very beneficial to raise the age to eighteen or even higher,” says sophomore Simmie Chhatwal.

On April 21st, twenty-five-year-old Alek Minassian plowed through a crowd of pedestrians on a bustling Toronto city sidewalk, killing ten people and injuring fifteen more. A plain rental van quickly became a weapon. Even though this occurrence could have been purposeful, accidental tragedies similar to this occur all the time and often cannot be controlled. It’s up to us to respond to them and take steps towards safer driving.

“It’s so easy to start to get really worried about something like that [tragedy], because it really makes you think, ‘This could happen anywhere, at any time.’ It’s really scary, but I think we could also learn from it,” says sophomore Maddie Gagne.

On average, cars weigh about four thousand pounds. Having complete control of a metal machine with fatal capabilities is a massive liability that most people don’t take seriously. Cars are often seen as an accessory, rather than a responsibility.

“Hearing about wrecks can change how cautious people are about driving. Even though [car accidents are] really bad when they happen, they can be a learning experience for us, especially if [we] are involved. That change may not last forever, but a small change is better than no change at all,” says senior Josiah Jennings.

This year, South Carolina was ranked forty-sixth in the U.S. for having the worst drivers. S.C. also scored extremely low in speeding and careless driving. Though it may be hard to change the habits of the entire state, we can work towards changing our personal driving habits to improve our own safety and the safety of those around us.

“South Carolina is one of the most dangerous states to drive in. We do have a lot of police, which is a good effort to make S.C. safer. I think the best thing we can do individually to help is to control ourselves and be as careful and cautious as we can because we can’t really prepare for what other people are going to do,” says Chhatwal.

Changing personal driving habits may not seem like much, but they can significantly reduce the risk of getting in an accident. Driving safely can be as easy as wearing a seatbelt, following the speed limit, and avoiding distractions, such as loud music or cell-phone use.

“When I hear about a wreck or an accident, it does make me want to drive safer. Honestly, I only change my habits for about a day, but I think small changes can still help,” says junior Will Arndt.

The automobile is one of the most beneficial inventions in history, but without dedication to safety, it can become dangerous. Everyone needs to be cautious and aware when driving to avoid accidents, especially high schoolers. With more awareness and attention to safety while driving, our community and state can become better as a whole.

“I don’t think there’s any use in getting stressed and worried when we hear about driving tragedies. However, I definitely think we should learn from other people’s mistakes so that we won’t make them. Since South Carolina is pretty dangerous, I think [as student drivers] we should be more cautious since many other people won’t [be]. We can’t control other people, so we should be as careful as we can ourselves,” says sophomore Kasey Griggs.