In class today, we discussed Anna Quindlen's essay "Driving to the Funeral." Quindlen writes about the fact that the number one killer of teenagers is car accidents. We spent class trying to figure out why this is true.
First, we discussed whether sixteen-year-olds are old enough to drive. Many of us said, yes. Age does not determine maturity. Sarah R. told us that in her home state of Michigan, kids begin to learn how to drive at fourteen and nine months. In many states out west, the age to drive is even lower. So we can't argue that sixteen is too young.
We decided to examine the different kinds of accidents that teenagers have on the road. Many of us felt that it takes time to understand the road. Teenagers simply haven't had the life experience to handle driving. Em argued that our parents can be at fault too. We learn from them - and they haven't had drivers' ed in years. Overall, we felt that it comes from teenagers driving too fast and driving drunk.
At Jenn and Ali's high school, wrecked cars were left out front of the school as a reminder to students that they were not invisible. It worked, too. There were no other accidents that school year. It's messed up though, Paige added, when kids see their friends die and it doesn't stop them from being careless.
Questions for Writing
1. Why do you think car accidents are the number one cause of death in teens? Support your belief with a story from high school. You can write about an accident or you can write about what you know about teens. What is it about teenagers that causes them to get into accidents?
2. Most adults believe that teenagers think they are "invisible." Is this true? Write about a time when you came a little too close to danger. How did you end up in this predicament? What did you learn from the experience? Consider the stereotype that adults have about teens. Do all teens think they are invisible? Make sure to think back and remember what it was like to be a teenager. If this question was asked of you when you were a teenager, how would you respond?