Reckless driving not worth consequences

Alyssa Benes and Alyssa Benes

Over fall break, I got pulled over for the first time.

I was driving at night with my passenger side tail light out. Because of my clean driving record and a nice police officer, I didn’t get a ticket, but was told to get it fixed quickly.

I was still absolutely terrified.

The next day, I went to an auto parts store and got new light bulbs and replaced them. I then began to think about how lucky I was.

First of all, I escaped a $120 ticket. But even more than that, I realized how lucky I was that I hadn’t been doing a handful of other illegal and reckless things that teenagers and college kids tend to do that would have made the ticket much more expensive, such as speeding or texting. I began to think about how reckless of a driver I can be sometimes.

I’m used to driving on I-75 to back home in Michigan. The 120-mile drive takes me about two hours if I obey the speed limit [60-70 in Ohio, 70 in Michigan]. I don’t usually speed in Ohio [because if you didn’t know, the Ohio police really don’t like Michigan drivers], but in Michigan, my minimum speed is 75, which very rarely gets someone pulled over.

However, I have to admit that most of the time, I drive somewhere between 75 and 85 mph. At most, that cuts 15 minutes off of my drive. Is 15 minutes less really worth it? Going 15 mph more than the speed limit is dangerous, especially in traffic.

I don’t normally text while driving, unless it’s a quick text or emergency. The only time I usually touch my phone while I’m driving is to change the song that I’m listening to. I know it’s still dangerous, but I do it anyway.

My point is, as teenagers and college kids, we often don’t think about the consequences of actions that seem so harmless. Driving takes focus and really requires our full attention. It also requires us to be safe. Laws are in place for that reason. I speed to get home faster, but only 15 minutes at most while going 15 more than the speed limit, which isn’t only dangerous for me, it’s also dangerous for everyone else on the road.

On the road, things happen so fast. The faster that someone is going, the faster bad things can happen and come up out of nowhere. I know most college kids speed, text, talk on their phones, etc. while driving, not to mention driving drunk. It’s all dangerous, so why do we do it?

Are we really in that much of a hurry? Is that text message really that important? Is any of this dangerous stuff really worth it? After I got pulled over, I really got to thinking about it.

Cutting 15 minutes off of my drive isn’t really that important. It’s 15 minutes more that I get to be home. Most of the time when I’m driving home, it’s at night and by the time I get there, my parents are already asleep, so it’s not even about spending time with my family.

Back when I was 16, a close friend of mine was killed in a car accident. It’s something that I’ve remembered every day since it happened and that has really impacted my life. Yet, I still take risks and do stupid things while I drive.

Sunday evening, when I was driving back to Bowling Green, I went 75 mph all through Michigan and followed every speed limit in Ohio. It took me 15 minutes longer to drive back down here, but it was worth it. I knew that I wasn’t doing anything unnecessary that would put my life or someone else’s life at risk or risk getting an expensive ticket.

We need to realize that driving requires our full attention and that there are laws in place to keep everyone on the road safe. Obeying them not only saves lives, it also can save us from spending money that as college students, we don’t necessarily have.

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