Three simple rules to prevent distracted driving

Phi N

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Six months after my sixteenth birthday, I got my provisional driver’s license. The following day, my dad let me borrow his car to drive to school for the first time. I was excited and scared simultaneously. No more waiting at the bus stop while it is still dark outside. Now I can sleep in an extra thirty minutes every morning and still get to school on time. I visualized in my head how I was going to drive myself to school that morning. It is the same route that I have watched from the window of my bus for the past two years. I imagined myself watching out for cars, driving with the flow of traffic, but no more than five miles above the speed limit. I executed the drive that morning just like I imagined it in my head. When I got to school, I could not wait for school to be over so I can drive myself home. My dad has three rules to prevent distracted driving: no cell phone usage, no more than two people in the car, and always leave early. No cellphone usage while driving is the hardest to follow. My dad says that when he was young, they did not have cell phones. If he needed to make a phone call while driving, he would have to find the nearest gas station to make that call using a public payphone. So far, I have been keeping this rule but not quite faithfully. If there is an incoming call, I would glance at the caller ID to find out who it is. If it is just my friends, I will let it go to voicemail. If it is my parents, I would pick up because I know they only call me when there is something important. When they know that I am driving, they usually cut the conversation short. When it comes to texting, I turn off the notifications so it will not distract me at all. So far I have not gotten anyone angry at me for not returning their phone calls immediately. I do not quite understand the two-person max rule, but I follow it anyway. My friends can be rowdy, but when you only have one of them in your car, it is easier to ignore them. When I am driving, I focus on driving and paying attention to the road instead of their teenage antics. The last rule has saved me so many times. Even for school, I always leave at least five minutes early. This way, if there is heavy traffic, I do not get too upset because I still have extra time. Additionally, if I miss a turn, I do not get too frustrated because there is still enough time for me to turn around. I am able to remain calm and focus on my driving instead of worrying about the consequences of being late. I have been driving to school for over a year now. I no longer feel excitement and anxiety like I once felt. But I still enjoying driving myself to different places. I take driving very seriously. I pay attention to the roads and practice defensive driving techniques, and I keep the distractions to a minimum. To me, driving is a privilege and not a right. It is a matter of life and death so I have to treat it with respect. I have a future ahead of me so I can not afford to become another statistic for teenage distracted driving.