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ďLook out, weíre gonna crash!Ē This phrase is probably muttered every day, and Iím not talking about the millions of times itís said in video games. Iím talking about the wild Ďn crazy world of teenage driving!

You may be surprised to hear me refer to my own generation like that, but gee, itís true! If you ask anyone whoís ever been in a car driven by a teenager or watched a teen pretend that you get five lives in real life when youíre driving, youíll be in for some interesting stories. In fact, Iíve put together a little formula that sums up a teenage driver: Horsepower ų age + number of drivers with road rage in the city = number of accidents experienced by a teen in one year.

It works, too! Letís say weíve got a 141 horsepower Jeep, and a 14 year old driver behind the wheel, and you have a city with 259 cases of real road rage in drivers. 141 divided by 14 is approximately 10, and if you add 259 to it, youíll end up with 269 accidents per year! Iíd say thatís about right, or at least thatís how much the insurance companies think a teenager will be doing in a year.

Some people may not think itís really that bad, thinking back to their youth when you could drive a Model T around and the only obstacles you may encounter were ďa few bloody horse carriages that veered out of their path into the electrical machine lane.Ē Yes, itís really been that bad for that long. In the 50s the nationís citizens were trying to get huge, ballooning poodle skirts out of the way of the pedals. In the 60s, the radio finally became a decent distraction. The 70s brought cars that were made of marijuana, and in the 80s everyone was concerned about not getting one spot of dirt on their car.

Of course, almost everyone my age has at least one driving-in-a-friendís-siblingís-car tale or we-almost-got-hit-by-a-semi story, so hereís one of mine. I had just walked out of the house to my friendís sisterís car, where my friend was waiting (his sister was driving) . If you need a name for the friend, Iíll just call him Hypothetical Landon. Wait, no no, that would make it too obvious...

Anyway, we were going to go somewhere, and I sat in the back seat. The driver backed the car out of the driveway. All was going fine. The driver turned into the street and then turned around a little sharper corner than most. Nothing would be unusual about that, except that as the car turned, the door right beside me (which my elbow was resting on) decided that it didnít wanna stay shut, that it should let the passengers of the car in on some fresh air, so it swung open! Just before I fell out of the car I heard myself scream, which reminded me that falling out of cars was bad! So I grabbed onto the door frame and pulled myself back in. For the rest of the trip, I kept my seat belt on, and decided I could rest my elbow on my knee.

But there are plenty of other stories. Transmissions failing, driving backwards down South Washington St., not being able to shift out of fourth gear...and I didnít make any of those up, either!

Not that Iím saying all teens are bad drivers. As you age, you get experienced in lots of different things, driving being one of them. If you watch a 17 or 18 year old driver, youíll notice that they drive with the grace of a butterfly, all while listening to music at a volume that would make any other age bracket instantly deaf! But really, you have to give a hand to these kids. Letís see an adult try to drive with The Rolling Stones up as loud as it goes!

But teenagers do have their place in the driving world. If anything, it gives adults the chance to say, "Those 14 year olds have a permit...but for what?"

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Karl Becker, the author of all these articles, uses New Tricks for his writings.

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