Originally published in La Plaza Press
By MIA ARANDA
Driving can be a nerve-wracking experience for the developing, easily-distracted teenage mind. After all, there are many factors to keep in mind, such as when one is allowed to change lanes or observing the speed limit in specific areas. Aside from knowing the rules of the road, drivers must also have a keen sense of awareness of cars and pedestrians around them, always preparing for the unexpected.
Photo made with Autodesk Sketchbook, a drawing and sketching app. (AILEEN JANEE CORPUS/ La Plaza art)
Students from Redlands, Citrus Valley, and Redlands East Valley High Schools shared their tips and experiences from driving in order to help other teens become more skilled and aware on the road.
“My advice is to create a solid base of rules and laws of driving, so you are less nervous when getting behind the wheel. In my experience, I thought I would be able to drive well after reading the driving handbook once and watching my parents drive, but now, a month away from my driving test, I have found myself forgetting very important rules while driving. It is very important to know what you are allowed and not allowed to do to prevent getting a ticket or causing a collision.” – Annabelle Su, RHS junior
“Have common sense, and just go with the flow.” – Chase Dabbs, REV senior
“I got my license before the lockdown, therefore when I was finally driving alone, no one was on the street or highway. Since everything began to open everything is more crowded and there’s a lot of people on the street. My biggest tip is to be as nosy as humanly possible. Watch everything and make sure you’re paying attention. There really is no way in telling what that random man in the car in front or next to you is going to do which is why it’s crazy important to be paying attention to everything. Attention is the one thing that is going to prevent you from being in an accident.” – Diana Garcia, RHS junior
“Practice your spatial awareness and your ability to judge distance and time your decisions. The more aware you are of what is going on around, the easier and more comfortable you will be driving. Also, your ability to judge the road ahead and make decisions on when to [brake], accelerate, and switch lanes will help you become a better and safer driver. And, always make sure to look for pedestrians, especially at night or in dimly lit spaces!” – Tora Bruich, CV junior
“Don’t just be respondent to the road signs and rules, but also be courteous to other cars on the road (if someone is trying to merge, you are drifting lanes, you have your brights on, etc). Too often do people fail to realize their position among other cars, which causes the most aggravation and many accidents.” – Matt Marinkovich, REV senior
“Driving can be tedious at first as there are many steps necessary in order to obtain your permit and license. My advice is to not only know what to study for, but have enough experience driving where you can feel comfortable. It is important to be conscientious about your surroundings and maintain a calm composure in order to make sure that you are as safe as you can be. I know this is a weird piece of advice but make sure that you are not on your phones! Be concentrated in order to minimize accident potential.” – Ben Bartlett, RHS junior
“It’s not as difficult or scary as it may seem. The most important thing is to drive as much as you can so you become more experienced. Everything will get easier the more you practice.” – Ethan Zander, CV senior
“You need to be confident in yourself.” – Robby Everhart, REV senior
“My tip that I have for teenagers learning how to drive is to always look out for the other drivers, you can be the best driver, but you never know about the person in the car next to you.” – Lily Shergold, RHS senior
To become a better driver, students have suggested practicing more, always being aware of your surroundings, being courteous to other drivers and pedestrians, and believing in yourself. Driving is a privilege, so keep in mind that abiding by laws and exhibiting polite manners should always be practiced in order to prevent accidents and stay safe.