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Teen Talk: Queens teenagers must learn to be safe drivers

I heard a sad story about an accident on Long Island the other day. A car driven by and carrying teenagers was going so fast that when it crashed it split in half. I guess it might not have ended that way, but some little thing changed it from a simple ride into an accident — maybe a wet spot on the road, maybe the driver taking his eyes of the road for one second, maybe an unexpected move by another driver, whatever.

There are thousands of deaths related to car accidents every year and many involve teenagers.

I, too, was involved in such an incident only a few months ago. Thank God nothing serious happened to me physically, but the trauma it caused me mentally will probably be with me for the rest of my driving years. In a way it was good that it happened. Of course, I wish I had not learned it in the way I did, but it has made me think more about what driving is all about.

I notice that people my age have a few “tendencies” when they drive. We tend to drive a little too fast. And I don’t mean speeding like mad or even over the limit. I mean just a little too fast for the situation. That makes it harder to react in time if there’s somebody ahead or to the side who makes a bad move.

Speaking of bad moves, I think younger drivers also don’t do enough thinking about the other driver and, especially, the other bad driver. My accident involved someone else going through a stop sign. Before I used to think it was silly for my mom to be so careful at an intersection when the other guy had the stop sign. Not anymore.

I also think we’re kind of fearless. You know, the thinking that life’s an adventure and it’s so cool driving and especially having your own car. I guess it’s all part of where we are in life, but there is such a thing as being too carefree and that can show up sometimes in how we drive.

So let’s keep our beautiful borough safe and free of unnecessary sad news. And if we young drivers do our part, maybe the guys in charge can do theirs — safer boulevards, better signs, more one-way streets and more required driver education.

An accident you walk away from will do it every time.

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