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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?

crash Pictures, Images and Photos

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.

My experience

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?

Article comments

Shiraz says:

I think as a young person you don’t really register the danger because for the most part you haven’t experienced any of the consequences. As you see things happen to others and you start to have more responsibilities, you begin to realize that things could go awfully wrong. I used to drive irresponsibly fast in my late teens/early twenties. Now all I can think about when I reach a certain speed is what can go wrong and I slow right down.

Eddie says:

I’m sure we all did dumb things when we were younger. My self included. I raced cars, had the souped up car, lived life in the fast lane. Now I look back and sorta laugh at it all. If someone were to ask me to do some of the things today, I would laugh at them.

Part of it is peer pressure, another part of it is trying to fit in. In high school, you’re either “in” with the in-crowd or outside looking in.

Great reflective post. Sure brought back high-school memories. 🙂

young says:

@Eddie- Yeah, I agree. I did my fair share of foolish things too 🙂 Though I never did anything that I think would have possibly caused direct HARM to anyone per se (e.g. driving fast). Just somewhat physical harm to myself (haha e.g. intoxicants). I think though, some people extend this mentality well into their adult years! (Well some people I know).

Anna says:

Enjoyed the article. Young people have a prepensity to gravitate towards speed and dangerous activity…it’s part of being young and feeling invinsible. That being said, it’s essential that parents talk to their kids about the tragic consequences of being reckless. Also, I noted 2 items that necessitated clarification and further research on your part before blogging to the world:
1) Gen Y is the same thing as millenial. Right now there are 3 generations in the workforce: Gen Y, Gen X and the Boomers.
2) For Pete’s sake, all cars built today are light NOT JUST Japanese cars. I wish bloggers actually researched items before making erroneous statements. Japanese cars are known for safety and have won a myriad of awards. When you dismiss Japanese cars without doing your research; it’s just plain ignorant.
Below are some sites denoting the overall quality of Honda Civics:
I’m part of Gen Y but the sheer lack of research that people in my generation do before posting or bringing up their opinions at meetings makes me shudder. No wonder older generations tend to dismiss us…especially if you fall into the trap of being overly confident and not bothering to research beforehand. Please do not let the perpetuation of young people spouting erroneous information continue on your blog. Otherwise, Gen Y will continue to be known as the overly confident but lacking in substance generation….and really who wants to be known for those characteristics?

young says:

@Anna- Thanks for reading and giving your two cents. I’m happy that the “world” comes and reads my blog, but this is my blog and although I try my best to provide current and accurate information, I was just speaking from experience and that was what the policeman said. Mind you, this was >10 years ago, so perhaps the Honda Civic safety has changed. I’m not sure if this proves anything at all, but believe me, I’m not KNOCKING on Honda civics because I have one myself and I love it! I do know that my car probably isn’t as safe as a Volkswagon Jetta, just because Honda Civics are lighter in comparison to a Jetta. Oh, here’s a quote from the usnews.com website you linked to:
“The 2011 Civic did not perform as well in tests with the federal government. It received an overall score of three out of five stars. In front and rollover crash tests, the Civic got a higher score of four out of five stars, but in side crash tests, the Civic only managed a two-star rating.”
As for the millennials, I think someone should change the naming system of Gen Y and millennials. LOL I consider myself Gen Y and NOT millennial. To ME, millennial is someone who is born after 1990. But that’s just my opinion!

As a young male teacher I try to impress upon my students that driving drunk doesn’t make you tough or masculine, it just makes you stupid. Dealing with speed is a harder sell. There is probably some evolutionary, testosterone-fueled need to push speed limits and to beat the guy next to you. If you consider a car the logical extension of physical abilities, then isn’t in every guy’s alpha male-wannabe instincts to want to go fastest?

young says:

@T.M.- Yes, definitely. It’s a testosterone driven thing, competition for who has the nicer car, who has the faster car etc. Does that mean testosterone decreases as age increases? LOL is this correlation and not causation?

Doctor Stock says:

A very sobering thought… I’ve heard of so many deaths of young people due to alcohol and driving lately… and pot too. So sad… and it’s not like they don’t know.

young says:

@Doctor Stock- Yeah, it’s this cloak of invincibility that young people have, I think 🙁

Young people are dumb. 🙂
I was dumb and did many stupid things too. I think that’s just part of growing up. These days I have pretty high coverage car insurance. It’s not worth losing everything you worked for if you get into a high value accident.

young says:

@retirebyforty- Yeah, I have extra coverage in case I hurt someone or in case I cause any damage too 🙂 Glad we’re both safe and cautious!

Echo says:

Now that I have a family my appetite for risk and adventure has really declined. I’m very conscious of my driving speed, especially on the highway. The risk of getting a speeding ticket or getting into an accident is just not worth arriving 10-15 minutes early.

A few of my friends (all new dad’s) still go out snowmobiling in Revelstoke even though there have been many reported incidents of avalanches and people dying. They definitely still have the, “it won’t happen to me” attitude.

young says:

@Echo- Awe 🙂 You sound like you have a very cute family too! Maybe that’s what I need to do, have a family with BF haah so decrease his appetite for risk. As I get older, I find myself becoming more paranoid and perhaps even fearful of getting into an accident etc. I would say I’m pretty safe too, the only risky sport I do is snowboarding and that’s not even risky really.

Juan says:

I think it is just that when we are young we long for adventure and adrenaline but we tend to forget that are not invincible…. so we don’t think that much about our behavior, regardless of the effect.

young says:

@Juan- You said that almost poetically, Juan! 🙂