Young people are reckless.
It doesn’t matter if you’re part of the current generation Y or if you are a millennial, or if you are a baby boomer reminiscing about the days you did LSD. Part of being young is about experimenting, testing your limits, and seeing for yourself. Young people are less risk averse than older people, but probably because older people have been there, done that, and they have too much on the line (e.g. a family to raise, a caring spouse, a mortgage payment etc!).
Young people take risks without thinking about the consequences, either due to being over confident, or just plain arrogance.
What does this mean?
This means that young people are more likely to drink and drive, drive while high on weed (um, is this a Vancouver thing again?), and drive over the speeding limits. Young’uns test out their limits and unfortunately only learn when they fail.
Failure is sometimes needed to learn, and learn the lesson the hard way. Action to change previous risky behaviors is better than no action and complacency.
However, this should not be the case where there is risk to life or risk for serious harm, and even risk for having to pay out huge sums of money for the damage the young person has caused. Or even risk increased premiums for car insurance. Or risk having your car suspended.
What can young people do instead?
I think the public is doing a good job of teaching young people to think about the consequences when they get behind the wheel and want to “race” their car or drink and drive (MADD does a good job), but I think that parents should also teach their children about the consequences. Don’t give your child a nice car to start with, heck don’t give your child a car, period. What does them turning 16 make them instantly eligible for a car?
Instead of movies and video games glamorizing speeding(um, Need for Speed, the Fast and the Furious I-X?), more movies should be made about the consequences of speeding and reckless driving. What about movies about people becoming quadraplegic or paraplegic from reckless driving? I wonder why those movies aren’t out in the mass media.
Car insurance or motorbike insurance are one of those things that young people think they don’t need (well, it’s against the law in Canada not to have basic insurance), and when they do get it, they only get the minimum coverage. However, when you hurt someone or you hurt a friend because of your reckless driving, you’ll wish you weren’t so reckless and you’ll wish you had more coverage. Confidence in your driving abilities is useless here, unfortunately.
I didn’t have a personal experience but one of my good friends in high school was seriously injured in a car accident. My boyfriend (yes, I dated him briefly in high school, how sweet!) and a bunch of my guy friends were pretending to be all machismo in that high school adolescence sort of way, and they were racing their cars down this long stretch of road. Something happened and one of the cars caught itself on the gravel at the side of the road, swerved, and hit a lamppost. Not only did they damage public property, my friend seriously hurt himself, he fractured his thigh bone and police said he was lucky to be alive. The police said if he drove a Honda Civic he would have been toast (those Japanese cars are nice and light but probably aren’t so good for safety). He went through a long recovery and he’s about 95% back to normal 10+ years later, but he still can’t do high impact sports like snowboarding. I’m thankful nothing more serious happened to him.
Readers, what do you think it is about the need for speed that intrigues us? Or if you don’t mind sharing, have you or a friend/acquaintance had an experience with reckless driving?