Save Our Teen Drivers

Advocating for driver's education changes. Educating the public on the problem. Finding a solution that saves lives.

Stories from the road: people who don’t use their mirrors

Posted by lapearce on June 28, 2009

The road to Glacier Point with Half Dome in the background, Yosemite National Park, California

The road to Glacier Point with Half Dome in the background, Yosemite National Park, California

I spent the last four days on a nice trip with my boyfriend to the Sierra Nevada mountains. We went to the eastern side and explored: Fossil Falls, Manzanar WWII Japanese American camp, Mammoth, Convict Lake, June Lake, Devils Postpile and Mono Lake, then we took Tioga Pass into Yosemite, seeing Tuolomne Meadows for the first time. 2 1/2 tanks of gas and 700 miles later and we’re back: 600 unread items in my google reader (about half about teen drivers, so I’ve got some good posts coming), a couple dead celebrities, and a lot of stressful experiences with people who can’t drive.

My boyfriend and I both have good driving experience. We both instruct teen drivers through Driving Concepts and both take our cars to the track where we hone our own driving skills. We are alert, we are aware, we watch our mirrors, and we are courteous and cautious drivers on the road. That’s because we’ve made it our business to be that way. I can guarantee you that we are in the minority.

My biggest pet peeve of all the drivers we had to experience this weekend were the ones who would be going slower than traffic and not allow others to pass. Much of our driving was on one lane roads with turn offs for slower traffic or passing areas. We would get stuck behind other cars that would brake through turns, go 10mph below the speed limit and more nerve racking: go into the on coming lane in turns. Talk about bad drivers. But then, when a passing lane would come up they would speed up! And when a turn out would present itself they wouldn’t take it!

Why? Is it because they are rude? Do they feel like we have no right to go faster, that we should be content with their speed and poor driving habits? Do they feel as if they go a little bit faster the driver behind them will be content? I don’t think it’s any of these things. I think it’s because they aren’t paying attention.

These drivers drive cars that are like all of ours: they have three mirrors used to observe what is beside them or behind them. But to work, people need to look at them. To be safe, you should scan your mirrors every few seconds so you know what is happening around you at all times. That way if the mattress in the back of the truck in front of you suddenly falls off you already know where your openings are to take them, saving precious seconds that are the difference between crashing and just getting your adrenaline up.

Unfortunately, it seems like no one looks at their mirrors ever, except maybe when they change lanes, if us other drivers are lucky. So instead of having a nice peaceful drive, going at our pace, enjoying the scenery, we get stuck behind grandpa in his Jetta, going 20 mph, looking straight ahead, completely unaware of those pieces of glass on the side of his car and the center of his windshield.

Please, drivers of America, do us all a favor: use those mirrors as they were attended. Use turn outs if you are going slower than traffic (ie if you have a line of cars behind you) stay in the right lane unless you are passing and please, for the safety and security of us all, don’t speed up if someone is passing you! I know it is straight and you can go faster, but be curtious to the people who want to go faster than you and slow down, so they can pass quickly and safely, avoiding any potential on comming traffic. And teach your new drivers to do the same.

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