Why did you learn to drive? Was it out of a desire to be free, to go where you wanted when you wanted? Or was it to impress someone? Maybe you learned to drive simply out of necessity, to fulfill the needs of family or self, to preserve your well being by grinding out a commute to and from a job you needed to buy food. Whether one or none of these, the reality is that you didn’t learn to drive only for yourself. You got your license to drive for the children who were taught to look to the left, then the right, and then left again before crossing the street to be safe. You got certified to operate a one ton gasoline powered vehicle so that the students crossing the street after school know that the stoplight will keep them from being hit. You know how to drive a car because you know what not to do, what rules to follow, and the consequences that come if the rules are broken, or ignored. WHY IS IT SO HARD THEN? Why do we take the responsibility for granted? What makes people so self-centered when they get behind the wheel? That’s the reality of it, that when driving comes into play, becoming complacent with the procedure is selfish. To not fully consider the responsibilities of a driver while driving puts not only yourself at risk, it puts the kids at risk who think that everyone knows to slow down in a school zone. It puts the students at risk, who think that everyone knows the rules about slowing down for a school zone. To stray from the rules even a little is a risk; to disregard them entirely is a danger. Distracted driving, a cousin to reckless driving, is the most self-centered driving act one can partake in. Whether it is a phone, or a person within the car, or something entirely different, distracted driving is something that we as people continually disregard being responsible for. My father is guilty of this. We call him out multiple times, but he never stops, he simply reminds us of his experience driving. I’m sure that’s a common justification, but it goes for my father and everyone else when I say that no amount of experience can un-crash a car, un-hit a lightpole, or un-bend a fender. No matter whether you’re paying 60% attention or 95%, there’s still that 5% chance that you miss seeing a person, or a stoplight changing, or a stop sign, all in a single glance. All this, and people still tell themselves that their only problem is what happens to them. People didn’t evolve to drive cars. Cars have been optimized for people, but cars are far from the level needed for people to act like they’re naturally equipped to drive like it’s no biggie. It’s a responsibility, a focus. It’s not something to be taken as lightly as a trip we can look at our phone on.
People are not naturally equipped to drive. It’s not an evolutionary feature, it’s not a God-given gift of nature bestowed upon us to coexist with. It’s a responsibility that people tend to take for granted, as we find that attention spent driving is often divided between people in the car as well as electronic devices. However, having a drivers’ license is not about being able to drive a car as much as making sure that the people around the car are safe.