18-Year-Old With No License

Alina C

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I am 18 years old and I have not gotten my driver’s license. Do I know how to drive? Yes. Have I taken the test? No. This is something that most people find very puzzling, since most 16-year-olds are dying to get their license, a car, and their freedom. However, I am scared of doing so because of how common reckless and distracted driving is everywhere.    Usually, data and statistics are used as scare tactics within the context of driving-related accidents and I think that it is appropriate in this case because it can help us understand the impact that reckless and distracted driving can have on everyone. For example, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2018 distracted driving claimed 2,841 lives. This number of deaths includes drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and bicyclists; this shows that you do not even have to be in a car to be affected by another person’s driving. Reckless driving is also a big contributor to motor vehicle fatalities, for example, speeding has been involved in approximately one-third of all motor vehicle fatalities according to the NHTSA.    I, unlike some people who already have a license, know and understand the responsibilities that come with being a driver and while I do feel prepared to take on those responsibilities, I do not trust those around me who drive. I can be careful, but that does not mean that other people will also be careful or that it will somehow prevent me from ever crashing.    Everyone in my family has been in a car crash. I was in one with my parents, my sister and one of my aunts. A truck driver decided to go through a route where no trucks were allowed and thus had a hard time maneuvering through the curves. He ended up stopping with no warning and my father rear-ended him, which caused our windshield to break. My father’s fingers were broken and cut, and I got cuts on my forehead and nose, we both still have scars 14 years later. I was only 4 years old when this happened and I still remember every detail. It is scary to think that the truck driver’s recklessness could have cost me my life and my family.     Another one of my aunts was in a  car crash when she was in college. She and another friend decided to drive back home during bad road conditions in the winter. Her friend was driving, lost control of the car, crashed and my aunt flew out of the car. She had to get knee surgery and still has a scar that is about 6 inches long. She is still being traumatized 20 years later. When my aunt is in a car she flinches and squeals every time another car comes close or somebody else does something reckless. When I was little I did not know why she did that, so I thought that it was very annoying, but then my mother told me why and now it is a constant reminder of how scary it is to be in a car crash.    I am 18 years old  and I have not gotten my driver’s license because I am scared of the poor decisions that other drivers make. Luckily I have never been in a serious car crash, but even so every time I go in a car I am scared and I strongly wish I could stop being scared. I wish that all drivers would know that whatever is distracting you, it can wait and to really think before doing something reckless like speeding.