Not So Fast

“Speed,” may not sound like a dirty word to most; it may even sound sexy. “Slow,” conjures an image of a white-haired granny leaned over her walker, ambling at a snail’s pace along the corridor of a retirement home.

When it comes to driving though, especially teen driving, speed is the enemy, and we need to the driving culture to evolve to reflect this. The number on the speedometer can mean the difference between mobility and paralysis, between freedom and prison, and yes, between life and death. The auspicious news is that this significant number is entirely controlled by drivers—their speed is their choice. It is our job, then, to empower them to make smart choices and teach them the nuances of determining a safe speed.

There is no one speed that is lethal. Someone can be driving two miles below the speed limit, and it still may not be safe for the conditions. Speeding means driving too fast for conditions. Period. Conditions could include traffic, weather, or a thousand other external factors, but it also pertains to the driver’s own ability, which has everything to do with experience.

Reid Hollister was in his first year of driving when he died in a one-car crash on a three-lane Interstate Highway. It was dark and the rain had just stopped. Reid went too far into a curve before turning, then overcorrected, and lost control of the car. His car spun until it crashed into a guardrail that crushed his chest.

Reid would have turned 25 this summer, but instead of celebrating with him, his father is commemorating Reid’s life by promoting safe driving to other parents through his book, Not So Fast: Parenting Your Teen Through the Dangers of Driving. www.nsfteendriving.com. The proceeds from the sales of the book support Reid’s Memorial Fund.

Speeding and inexperience is a lethal combination, but through a multifaceted approach that includes educating teens and parents alike, we can save lives.

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