We all know that teenagers have the capacity to do some off the wall things sometimes. We’ve passed through that stage, and can recall things we did then that we can smile about now, recalling how funny those memories were! Or, in come cases, we shake our head and wonder how and why we made a few decisions that we did back then. In some cases, this can involve teenage driving experiences.
I’ve written about teens and driving a few times, the first time about the topic of what car a teenager should drive. There, I shared a story about how I saw a group of kids in a luxury SUV, which got some good comments on what cars people actually drove when younger. Another post talked about how there were reports suggesting that fewer teens were driving now versus a generation ago, which led me to wonder about this would lead to fewer expensive cars for teens.
Lately, I observed a couple of instances of crazy teen drivers, which reminded me about these past posts – and why I think kids do not need to be riding around in nice, expensive cars.
The Shopping Mall
I was at a local shopping mall, one of those tw0-level, indoor malls with several big anchor retailers, a food court, etc. Anyway, the parking lot is absolutely massive in this suburban mall, to the point where probably more than 50% of spaces aren’t used on a normal weekend afternoon. This despite being a thriving mall.
Anyway, the point is that one could probably drive through and across much of the parking lot without worrying about hitting any cars. Yet, most normal people don’t drive recklessly anyway. There are one-way rows in the entire lot, and people drive the right direction to park their cars or to exit. You know, the rows where cars are parked at an angle.
So, I was leaving the parking lot, and exiting straight ahead down the one-way row that I was in. As I was leaving the lot, I saw a car race right in front of me, perpendicular to how I was driving. The car was cutting across the lanes, driving through empty spots. The car swerved as it barreled ahead in front of me, as if the driver was trying to avoid hitting me.
It all happened so fast, but I looked off to the right, and the car slowed down enough for me to see a car full of teenage-looking guys.
Clearly, zero common sense was being used by the driver. This had the potential to be an accident, though thankfully nothing happened.
I was at a stoplight recently, and the light was green. I was in the left lane, with 2 lanes going in each direction on a 4-lane road. Yet, the cars ahead of me were not moving.
The guy directly in front of me started honking, but the car in front didn’t move. So, he waited for traffic to be clear in the right lane before he turned to the right, got into that lane, and then passed the stalled car in front of him. Once he did that, I followed suit.
As I drove by the car that was stalled in the left lane, I realized that it wasn’t stalled. There were teenage girls in there laughing, with the driver looking in the mirror putting on makeup or something. They obviously knew that their friend was stalling traffic. Once I drove by, I looked back in my rear view mirror and saw that the car full of teens finally started moving. I guess makeover time was finished.
The Open Field
Okay, this last example isn’t recent. It’s from 2 decades ago.
It’s also something I did
This is tame compared to what others do, but I recall being a teenager out one late night with a few friends. It was probably 10 or 11 at night, and we were on our way somewhere driving through a newer subdivision that was not yet fully built out. There were groups of houses that were built, with undeveloped, empty lots surrounding them as well.
So, if of course made sense at the time to take my car and drive through one of those empty fields. I took the Honda Civic, and took it “off road”. Driving through fields in between houses, I zig-zagged my way through bumpy dirt and vegetation. As I did, we could see frightened rabbits scattering in all directions. We of course were laughing and having good time, despite not realizing that the car or tires could have been damaged in the process.
I’m sure this wasn’t my parents had in mind when I was driving their car!
The thing is, I was actally an otherwise very responsible kid. Someone who didn’t get in trouble, and unlikely to make big mistakes. So if I did that, what could one of the goofball teens do? One can only wonder.
Bottom Line: Teenagers don’t need to driving around expensive cars. As I think about it, I think it’s worth it to have them drive a safe car. No need to drive around a hunk of junk that won’t be safe. Beyond safety though, I don’t think even one split second should be spent worrying about brand name – or how cool a car is. They should be able to safely get from Point A to Point B, with zero regard for how uncool their friends think the car is!