Driving: hit the gas or slam the brakes



Most people begin driving in high school. As students start to drive, it is important that they are aware of the registration and the learning process.

As high school progresses, students become increasingly curious about hitting the road. With this curiosity, it is extremely important that students are informed on the how-to and the dangers of driving. 

New drivers are eligible to get their learner’s permit at 15 years old and their driver’s license by 16. A majority of student drivers experience their first time driving in an empty parking lot or cruising around neighborhood streets.

 “At first, [driving] was kind of slow — it was not putting speed into it, it was just slowly cruising in the driveway,” Michael Moore (12) said. “I feel like the first time driving on the road was driving from the University of Memphis to my house. It wasn’t a long way.”

In order to become a licensed driver, students must have passed the knowledge test and held a learner’s permit for 180 days, as well as undergoing 50 hours of driving time — 10 of which must have occurred during the night. As an introduction to driving, many participate in a drivers’-ed course, which are offered at select locations, including the Bartlett Community Center.

“[Drivers’-ed] was about a week,” Manuel Reyes (12) said. “There was instructional, which was like…just the basic get-to-know stuff. That took about a week, and then you actually would drive.”

There comes many excitements with transitioning into routinely driving as a new driver. However, with these excitements must come caution and awareness as driving can be dangerous and is one of the leading causes of death for teenagers. Dangers to be aware of include reckless fellow drivers, obstacles on the road or faulty engines. Ensuring that students are aware of these dangers and how to avoid them is crucial. 

“Afterschool, I was driving to the gym … I was slowing to stop at the stop light and it turned green, and I tried to go but my engine just turned off and I couldn’t go,” Eilene Liu (12) said. “All the lights on my car came on, I turned on the emergency lights so the cars behind me knew to switch lanes. My friend was behind me and they told me to turn it off and turn it back on, and I did that and it worked.”

As all things, driving has ups and downs. Driving allows one to get to wherever they need to be in a personal timely manner without having to wait on a ride from a parent. A pesky con includes having to refill the gas tank, while a harmful con includes large emissions and their effect on the environment.

 “A few cons are environmental issues, and I feel like the process of actually getting a driver’s license is pretty long but I’d say it’s decent,” Moore said. “It needs to be long.”

Although driving can be a long learning process for some, and although it could take years for one to become comfortable with their own driving, it is a beneficial and necessary aspect of life. Because driving is so crucial in today’s society, it is important that student drivers study the laws of the road, how to be safe while driving and how to take care of their car.

“I’d say learning to drive is a pretty fun experience,” Moore said. “I feel like driving comes with a lot of dangers, so it’d be best to prepare as much as possible.”