Drivers who don’t use their turn signals, cut people off, or run red lights are just a few pet peeves that can easily get on our nerves when out on the road.
For new drivers like Southington High School students Megan Enright and Colleen Coleman, this all rings true. However, for the teens, there is an even larger aggravation: People who are too nice behind the wheel.
Yes, too nice.
An example: Being waved through a four-way stop sign intersection by a driver who got there first.
“You wait for them, and they let you go,” Coleman said. “It’s just annoying.”
Annoying, not to mention the added anxiety that can accompany the awkward situation of waiting for another driver to go while someone else is waiting behind you, impatiently. Or, finally going, only to see that another driver has decided to hit the gas at the same time, causing both drivers to stop simultaneously, and then go again.
Coleman and Enright say why not simply follow the rules of the road and avoid confusion and unnecessary stalls in traffic flow.
“I just sit there like, ‘I’m not gonna go,’” Enright said. “There are rules for a reason.”
Coleman has been driving for almost a year, while Enright got her license in October 2013.
The girls said having their hands on the wheel can be intimidating and a bit stressful, but staying calm is the key. Of course that can be easier said than done, especially when driving with anxious or nervous parents.
“Parents need to stay calm, too,” Enright said. “If you don’t stay calm, how am I supposed to stay calm?”
Coleman said her father was very strict about her staying focused on the road, and eliminated any chance of his daughter being distracted. As a result, Coleman drove in complete silence, without so much as a tune on the radio.
“He wouldn’t even talk to me,” Coleman said.
For drivers sharing the road with newbies, Enright and Coleman ask for patience while they learn the ins and outs of the blacktop jungle.
“Have patience with younger drivers,” Coleman said. “Follow the rules. Just because you’ve been driving longer doesn’t mean you can break the rules.”
While irresponsible driving is nothing new, and spans all age groups, young drivers, in particular, get a bad rap for driving recklessly.
While newfound freedom plus a young-and-invincible complex can be a dangerous combination, with Enright and Coleman, that isn’t the case.
“[People] forget they’re driving a machine that can kill someone,” Enright said.
As a matter of fact, the girls detest careless maneuvering and distracted driving, especially texting behind the wheel.
“I can’t even take my hands off the wheel to change the stereo,” Enright said.
Likewise, Coleman said she often gets distracted by simply looking at houses since she has an interest in architecture. Texting could be disastrous.
“I can’t look out the window without swerving,” Coleman said.
Despite all the pains and nuisances, however, both teens said driving is a wonderful privilege, and is definitely worth the trouble.