The Mayan “Long Count” calendar is ending on December 21, 2012 and we’ve all heard the question of whether this is a prediction of the end of the world. It’s interesting to ponder, as some say it will be a day of cosmic shift since the sun will be aligned with the center of the Milky Way for the first time in about 26,000 years. Or, perhaps it’s just a way for people to cash in on the idea of doomsday. There are no other facts or knowledge that prove the Mayans were predicting the world is ending on this date, so it seems it is more a modern-day guess than anything.
There are many predictions, a.k.a. guesses, in life, aren’t there? But, sometimes the facts tell a different story. Driving, for instance. (You knew it was coming, right?) If you are a teen, you have some very harsh facts to face every time you get into a car and, unfortunately, the odds are not in your favor.
The main fact working against you is your inexperience. Driving is a skill. Think of yourself as an apprentice in a job you will be doing the rest of your life. Your inexperience along with the major dangers below make your odds even worse.
- In 2009, 43% of teen crash fatalities occurred at night. Visibility challenges and drowsy driving contribute to these numbers.
- Your age group (under-20) represents the greatest proportion of distracted drivers. Distractions range from other passengers, your emotional state, texting, eating, or anything else that takes your eyes off the road, hands off the wheel or mind off of driving.
- Your age group is more likely than older drivers to speed and allow shorter headways (the distance from the front of one vehicle to the front of the next).
- Your seat belt use continues to be lowest (16 to 24-year-olds). Remember, a properly worn seat belt is your best and last defense in a crash.
- In 2009, 16- to 20-year-old age drivers with a BAC of .08 or higher were involved in 19% of all fatal crashes. Plus, you’re less likely to use a seat belt when you’ve been drinking.
Instead of making a prediction, or guess, that you’ll be safe on the road, know the facts and practice safe driving every time you get behind the wheel. Remember, there is not one person who was a master at driving from day one. We practice, we pay attention, and we learn. Then, as we polish our skills, our odds get better.
Read the updated Major Dangers and what to do about them.