Teens: Be Cautious Behind the Wheel

By Dr. Robert Wallace

May 30, 2020 4 min read

TEENS: There are times when young drivers take reckless chances behind the wheel during an activity called "hill jumping." This is a stunt where a car races up an incline and becomes airborne. However, this supposedly "exciting" experience can often turn deadly.

One of these types of crashes resulted in the death of two 16-year-old boys in the state of Illinois. These teens died from multiple blunt force injuries when they were ejected from the rear seat of the car, which was driven by another 16-year-old boy. Their afternoon of laughter on a quiet, off-the-beaten-path road turned into tragic wails for help.

An Illinois state trooper stated that the car was traveling at a high speed and became airborne at the crest of the hill. The car "flew" 80 feet before nose-diving into the pavement, causing extreme front-end damage and triggering the release of the vehicle's airbags. The car then struck a tree, ejecting the two rear passengers.

The driver admitted that he was looking for a hill to jump in an effort to both thrill and scare the passengers, one of which was his girlfriend, who was sitting next to him in the front seat. She survived but suffered serious injuries to her body.

I realize that relating a story like this in print is an extremely difficult way to educate young drivers that a car is a powerful vehicle and can cause death and destruction when it comes into contact with another object at a high rate of speed.

I also realize that some teens that read this column will not heed the warning and will continue to challenge and tempt fate by continuing to engage in daredevil acts behind the wheel.

Young drivers do have the physical skills to be the best drivers. It's just that at times, their skills are overpowered by speedy and reckless driving, which is a deadly combination. Add in the factor of relative inexperience, and therein lies a recipe for trouble and tragedy to rear its ugly head.

And as this deadly accident proved, many times the victims are passengers. Be cautious when you're behind the wheel, and be very selective of where and when you get into a car driven by someone else. Stories like this one can help teens to understand why parents often forbid their children to ride with certain drivers they view as reckless and unsafe.

Please remember you have much more control of your life than you think you do. Avoid being drawn into situations like the one I have described here. Find a reason to not be in any vehicle, at any time, when the driver is either intentionally or unintentionally driving in a manner that is unsafe, dangerous or outright reckless.

Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

Photo credit: Gellinger at Pixabay

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