Olivia Bryant is our Fall 2021 Scholarship winner! This is her winning essay submission on different driving distractions we face and how to end them. Read more on our scholarship program here.
Throughout the generations, distractions for drivers have become much more popular and tempting. Just a few decades ago, the biggest distraction was the person in the passenger seat making you laugh a little too hard. Now, there are lights and sounds everywhere vying for attention of anyone who will listen. For students my age and a bit older, the college experience makes this even more true. Other than texting and driving, other distractions include rowdy passengers, unfamiliar territory, and even fast food. However, every problem around distracted driving has tools available for the driver to make their journey safer.
Focusing specifically on teens and young adults, devices have made it harder to focus on a single task, such as watching the road. The CDC explains that there are three different types of distracted driving. The first is visual distractions, such as taking your eyes off the road to look at a text or friend that you’re talking to. Another is manual distractions, which cause you to take your hands off the wheel, like to eat a waffle fry and take a drink of soda. And the final is cognitive distractions, or distractions that make the driver take their mind off driving, like thinking about the nearest rest stop because you have to use the bathroom. From these examples, it is shown that there are numerous other distractions that come when a driver takes the wheel, and they are indeed very hard to resist in some occasions.
Unfortunately, distracted driving has some major consequences. According to a recent Brooks Law Group article, “distracted driving played a part in over 3,000 deaths in a recent year.” This is just a statistic in the age bracket of college students, let alone all drivers put together. Even just a moment of distraction can mean life or death in a defensive driving situation. Though most people are aware of the danger of distracted driving, they do not truly believe it will happen to them. Teenagers and young adults are known to have a feeling of “invincibility” when it comes to situations such as driving. In fact, the CDC reports that “twenty-five percent of the distracted drivers involved in fatal crashes were young adults aged 20–29”. People do not realize that letting your guard down while being responsible for a vehicle is a very important job to be taken seriously. Not only will your life be in danger, but those you are in the car with and other drivers will be at risk as well. Also, the widely known dangers of drunk driving fall under the category of distracted driving. Clearly this is a large issue, so something must be done to prevent distracted driving from becoming more prominent.
The Brooks Law Group has written many articles to educate people about tips to end distracted driving, and the article “College Students and Car Accidents: Statistics and Tips” is very helpful in this regard. When it comes to driving new places or being new to driving altogether, like going to college for the first time or just getting your license, Brooks Law suggests that you practice driving where you plan on going in advance. This way, you can be aware of any narrow roads, constriction zones, or speed limits that would make driving the day-of a lot easier. Another commonly known but extremely important tip is to never drive under the influence of alcohol. Though “drunk driving” is the common term for this, it is important to note that any amount of alcohol had the potential to affect the focus of the driver.
To conclude, there are many different kinds of distracted driving. From alcohol to just talking to friends, young adults are constantly bombarded with potential distractions behind the wheel. These distractions can have deadly consequences if not taken seriously. Though these distractions have been and always will be present, there are always tips nearby to avoid a risky scenario on the driver’s part. It is important that youth today are educated on these issues and solutions to keep the roads safe for all. After all, the only way to end this danger is educating those who are most susceptible. Help is available at your fingertips in today’s society; just don’t look while behind the wheel.
Olivia is a senior at Lakeland Collegiate High School. She will be graduating this spring with both her high school diploma and her A.A. degree. She hopes to get her bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management. Outside of school, she loves acting, singing, and going to church. She lives in Lakeland with her mom, dad, and her dog Jojo. Congratulations Olivia!