“One in five new drivers has a crash within six months of passing their test”
(DSA, Learning to Drive: a consultation paper (2008))
I never thought I’d ever be part of a statistic but yes, I was one of them. In the three months within passing my driving test back in October 2011 I was unlucky enough to be involved in a car accident. Fortunately I was the only one involved as I handled a corner a little bit badly and a little bit over the speed limit and landed in the bottom of a ditch and crashing into the side. I was on my way home from a 80 mile drive and crashed 6 miles away, when people find out this they always find it funny that I travelled all that way yet crashed so close to home, yet this isn’t uncommon, as 13% happen within six to ten miles from home (survey carried out by elephant.co.uk) Luckily all I suffered with is a sore back & neck from the impact of the crash and a bruised nose from where the airbags hit me in the face but it could of easily been a different story as I was told in the ambulance that the speed that my car was going at it could have easily flipped over the side and landed into a different ditch which was full of water meaning that I would have been trapped and it could have also led to me being paralysed or worse, fatally injured.
I haven’t got many photos but here is the windscreen and the front of the car that got destroyed, luckily my car could be rebuilt and wasn’t written off.
I’m using the word luckily a lot but thats how I feel because everything could have been a hell of a lot worse.
Young drivers are known for taking risks, the most common being speeding, overtaking blind, drink driving and not wearing a seat belt. In my opinion I believe that most young drivers are like this because they are over confident at the thought that they are now legal to do something which is seen as something ‘adult’ and another reason is because with most driving instructors they are taught to drive but not really taught the consequences of dangerous driving. In my sixth form they had a work shop where they showed videos of different crashes and the bad things that can happen as a consequence of bad driving. They also had family members and friends of people in crashes come in to speak about their loss and the effect it has on everyone. I believe that more young people should have the opportunity for these work shops as it really hits home of dangers and consequences and it could potentially stop people making a mistake and saving their lives and other drivers and passengers.
I watched a documentary on BBC 3 recently called Licence To Kill which follows a young woman who was involved in a car accident when she had just passed her driving test and subsequently ended up paralysed as a result of her actions. She followed many different people to show the consequences of their driving and also what can happen as a result of dangerous driving, which for one person ended up with prison as he killed a mother and an uncle as he crashed into a car when he was speeding. She too highlighted how important workshops, like the one at my sixth form, are and wished that they were around when she was learning to drive as she believed things could be a lot different for her now. This documentary itself is an eye opener and would make young people think twice before taking risks.
I also believe that parents can be oblivious to their kids driving without knowing what they are really like behind the wheel. I know my parents always taught me to be careful but like most teenagers I took notice of what they said but didn’t put it into practice. An eye opener for all parents would be to watch another BBC 3 programme called Barely Legal Drivers which follows two teenagers, who haven’t passed their driving tests for long, for a week and they are given their parents cars to drive and the cameras follow them around without them knowing that their parents are going to be watching how well they’re driving and also an ex-traffic cop who by the end of the week will decide whether they get a car of their own or advanced driving lessons. I believe this programme shows parents what young drivers are like when driving with friends. The programme shows most of the young drivers not being able to handle motorways, dancing whilst driving, speeding, going through red lights and narrowly avoiding accidents. I can see why most of them do deserve the advanced driving lessons as although they show driving skills, they have no road sense.
I think young drivers should be taught driving sense as well as the essential driving skills so that accidents like mine, or accidents shown on the documentary ‘Licence To Kill‘ can be avoided and it would also help get rid of the stigma that young drivers are bad and dangerous.