This week at Mason High School the Teens in the Driver’s Seat (TDS) organization is holding the first annual Teens in the Driver’s Seat Week in an effort to promote safe driving among the students. Statistics show that teen drivers and their passengers are the most at risk for traffic accidents. In 2010, 54 percent of traffic fatalities were not buckled up. We hope to prevent fatalities among students at Mason High School. Students walking into school on Monday morning were greeted with signs and banners reminding them to buckle up. During assembly, students watched two multimedia presentations promoting safe driving and warning of the dangers and then participated in a quiz about safe driving. The first presentation was the TDS contest winning video created by Jackie Drazan, Alondra Balderas and Sier’re Morris.
Tuesday during tutorials, students and faculty who signed the pledge on the poster “Safe Driving is a Piece of Cake” were rewarded with a piece of cake. Today is “Wear Green Wednesday!” Students who wear green in support of safe driving are rewarded with a TDS bracelet. TDS members will hand out key chains to fellow students arriving in the parking lot and to parents dropping off their children at all three schools. You may see some high school students out and about in town and on the square putting magnets and cling stickers on car windows reminding people to buckle up and drive safely. On Thursday, TDS members handed out sticks of Extra gum with the slogan, “Remember to drive extra careful!” On Friday, TDS members will hand out key chains to high school students.
We hope this week’s activities will shed light on the severity of the situation and show students that they can save more lives than their own by driving safely and buckling their seatbelt.
Nighttime driving is the single biggest risk factor for teens and traffic accidents. In 2009, 61 percent of teen crash deaths occurred between 6 pm and 6 am. As reported by a 2010 study by Texas A&M Transportation Institute, this is primarily due to a combination of the visibility challenges caused by dark conditions, slower response time brought about by fatigue, and a lack of experience driving under such conditions. The average person’s field of vision is smaller without the aid of light, and glare from oncoming headlights can further limit the ability to see clearly and avoid hazards.
Here are some things you can do to minimize the problem. As always, wear your seat belt. The danger of driving at night should not be multiplied by being unsecured. Keep distractions to a minimum to keep your eyes and attention on the road. Turn headlights on at dusk and observe night driving safety as soon as the sun goes down. Reduce your speed and increase your following distances. Don’t overdrive your headlights. You should be able to stop inside the illuminated area. If you can’t, you are creating a blind crash area in front of your vehicle. Keep your headlights and windshield clean. A thin film of debris on your headlights can reduce your visibility significantly. If an oncoming vehicle’s lights are too high, avoid glare by watching the right edge of the road and using it as a steering guide. Have your headlights properly aimed. Misaimed headlights blind other drivers and reduce your ability to see the road.