By Jordan W. Charness
As a parent I seem to spend a lot of time worrying, and as a parent of young drivers I probably worry twice as much every time they get into a car and drive away. I’m not actually sure whether I worry more when my kids are the drivers or when they get into a car driven by one of their friends.
I’m pretty sure that none of my kids or their friends will drink and drive because I have heard them arranging which one of them will be the designated driver. But, of course, that doesn’t mean that the designated driver will be a good driver. Since most young drivers feel that they are invincible, there is always the possibility that they will drive quicker than they should or roll through a stop sign or two.
Even more worrisome is the fact that perhaps they may not be properly vigilant about “the other guy.” Even if my kids and their friends are driving properly you never know what can come their way.
I was happy to hear their take on what happened when they were driving the other night. The passenger told the driver to be careful because it looked like the white car ahead of them was weaving back-and-forth across the road. Of course, just as the passenger mentioned it, the driver of the car ahead of them seemed to straighten out and drive properly.
They discussed it amongst themselves and thought perhaps the driver was just leaning over to change a station on the radio. They went back to talking amongst themselves but the driver was smart enough to leave some extra distance between his car and that white car ahead of him.
He then noticed that the white car was drifting out of its lane one more time and this time had cut off oncoming traffic before jerking back into his lane. While switching back into his lane the driver of the white car overshot the mark and drove up on the sidewalk clipping a fence post before bouncing back into the street again.
By now our kids realized that it was no longer a case of someone reaching out to change a station on the radio but that it was more likely a case of someone who had recently left a bar and was driving while drunk.
Rather than just leave it be, the kids did the smart thing and called the police to report that there was a dangerous drunken driver on the road ahead of them. The police asked them for the details of their location and what type of car they were looking at. They were also asked what made them think that the driver of the car may be drunk.
Even while they were asking all these questions the police located the closest patrol car and sent it off to their location. They also told our kids to stay well out-of-the-way to be sure that they would not be involved in an accident with an apparently drunken driver. They thought that that would be the last they would hear of the story.
Not exactly: the next day at school they were told that a friend of theirs had been arrested for drinking and driving the previous evening. He had been driving a white car and it was pretty clear to our kids that it was the driver that they had turned in.
I asked them if they would have turned him in if they had known that it was their friend and was gratified to hear them say that they would still have called the police. After all, one of the kids pointed out, they may have saved their friend’s life as well as the lives of anyone else who was sharing the road with him at night.
Maybe I don’t have to worry so much about them being in cars after all.