Visions of Youth11/26/08

Nov. 26, 2008

Defensive driving

By Kayla Purvis

Most school days I ride the bus twice — to school and back home. And almost every day my bus driver honks at at least one person who drives straight through her stop sign. The only way someone could miss a giant yellow vehicle with flashing lights is if he or she is not paying attention; and if you’re not paying attention, you shouldn’t be on the road.

I’ve been driving for about seven months with a learner’s permit, and I always make sure to pay attention to what’s happening on the road around me. I can’t imagine hitting anyone just because I received a call on my cell phone.

During my school years I’ve heard various reports about accident causes: cell phones, eating while driving, applying make-up while driving. If you’re driving, you should only be driving; not talking on the phone, texting or fiddling around with knobs and buttons. To be a safe driver you should have two hands on the wheel and your mind focused on the road and surrounding things. I think a lot of drivers have forgotten that.

If a phone call is important, pull over to take it. If your favorite song comes on the radio, turn it up a little, but don’t blast it. If you receive a text message, wait until you’re at a red light or your destination before you check it.

I got the idea to write about this topic this past week after observing the different things drivers do when they have to stop for the bus. Some drivers do exactly what they should do: slow down immediately and stop with a good-sized space in between their car and the bus. Others slow down and roll or crawl toward the bus, but never actually stop. And some people only stop after the driver has honked at them. Last time I checked, a red sign with eight sides and the word “Stop” written on it meant that a driver had to come to a complete stop.

Honestly, the bus won’t be stopped for more than 30 seconds — there’s no need to break the law just to save half a minute.

I have to cross Route 2A every day when I get off the bus. Now, I’m a big girl and I can cross the street all by myself. But I know that not all drivers are nearly as careful and aware as they should be, so crossing one of the busiest roads in Williston isn’t something I look forward to. I know that parents have written about this before, but I thought that it might make a bigger impact coming from an actual bus rider, someone on the other side of the stop sign.

Remember, all lanes of traffic have to stop for a school bus’ sign.

So turn down your music, ignore your cell phone, and just pay attention to the road. Come on, Williston. When you’re driving, just drive. It’ll help keep your students, citizens and fellow drivers safe.

Williston resident Kayla Purvis is a sophomore at Champlain Valley Union High School.