What's the BIG DEAL?
Questions from teens with some "not-so-obvious" answers..
Why do I need to stop at a stop sign if there is no other car around?
- First of all, it's the law to come to a complete stop at a stop sign. Secondly, stop signs are there for a reason. Just because you might not see another car around, it doesn't mean there isn't one approaching, and sometimes your sight distance is limited in the area of a stop sign. Why take the chance of getting into a collision when it only takes a few seconds to come to a complete stop and look?
What can happen? I'm only going 10 miles per hour over the speed limit?
- Again, it's the law to obey the speed limit, and they are put in place for a reason. Speed limits depend on the type of road, whether it's a highway or a residential road or a city road. For instance, you might come upon an unexpected curve in the road, and at a speed higher than the posted speed limit, you might end up off the road, flipped over in a ditch. Or, there might be a crosswalk or a school coming up where you would need to proceed with caution in case there are pedestrians crossing the road. On a highway, for example, you also have the extra factor of other vehicles traveling at a high rate of speed around you. You don't know if another driver might suddenly change lanes, cut you off or stop short. You must follow the posted speed in order to maintain the optimum speed of safety for that roadway. You should also take weather conditions into consideration when traveling. If weather conditions are poor or create limited sight distance, you should adjust your speed accordingly.
I'm very coordinated, so why shouldn't I be able to talk on the phone while I drive?
- Being coordinated doesn't mean your focus is still on the road if you are on the phone at the same time. Using a cell phone while driving quadruples your chance of crashing. Even with a hands-free device, drivers fail to take in 50% of information around them.
I don't drink but my friends do. What's the big deal if they're drunk in my car if I'm the one that's driving?
- By simply having one other person in the car, teens double their risk of getting into a fatal crash...and that's if they are both sober. By adding drunken people to the equation, the risk of a fatal crash is not only increased by the amount of extra people, but adds tremendous distraction by them being drunk. Drunken people tend to be louder and rowdier and have unpredictable behavior. They could kick your seat and cause you to swerve off the road. They could want the music very loud and have to yell over it, causing you to miss the emergency sirens approaching nearby. They could get sick, causing you to be more interested in if they're covering the back seat of your mom's Honda with vomit, than paying attention to the road. Even if you think you're helping your friends out, it's just not a good idea to drive with drunken passengers. And never, under any circumstances, get into a car with someone who has been drinking nor allow anyone else to drive drunk.