Empowering Young People to Walk (Rather than Ride in Unsafe Conditions)

Another 16-year-old female classmate of my sons, the second in two years, died last night in an automobile accident. She was a bright 16-year-old girl from a religious Christian family. Witnesses reported that a car filled with kids was darting wildly between lanes as it zoomed through highway traffic at high speed. It then lost control, went across the median, and hit a van. Two kids died that night, others are seriously injured. I’m so sorry that promising young people were killed and injured unnecessarily. What a terrible loss for the families and loved ones. And what an incredible burden for the driver, who I think survived the accident.

I’m quite upset by the tendency of young drivers with a car full of kids to show off by driving dangerously. Some get away with it, while others have the tragic encounter with reality that we had last night. In some cases I’m aware of, the kids getting into the car might have guessed that the driver wasn’t a safe, responsible person. I hope we can help our youth have the courage to walk rather than risk their lives with a questionable driver. Alcohol is often implicated with wild driving and accidents, and I hope people of all faiths will train their children to avoid riding with someone who has been drinking (and preferably to stay away from parties where alcohol flows).

When we have church activities or other events, adults and leaders might do well to consider the issue of transportation and take steps to ensure that only responsible driver will be driving our most precious cargo.

The fear of injuring others should cross our minds every time we take the wheel. Can we train our young drivers to think about that rather than all the fun of joking, laughing, and showing off? Could make for some dull drivers – wouldn’t that be an improvement?

Both of my younger sons have recently lost a classmate in automobile accidents. The classmates came from their small classes of about 20 kids from their time at the Classical School in Appleton. The threat of unsafe driving is so great among our young people. May we help protect them and help them have the courage to say no when there is unreasonable danger.


Author: Jeff Lindsay

5 thoughts on “Empowering Young People to Walk (Rather than Ride in Unsafe Conditions)

  1. These are the stories that cause us to take a moment and emphasize the small things in life… communication.

    Each time my son leaves with the car, he is so irritated at my gentle reminders to safety.

    Thanks you for sharing. I am so sorry to hear about it.


  2. The sad part is that more often than not, alcohol has nothing to do with it. All you need is an irresponsible teen with an invincibility complex behind the wheel, and maybe a few idiot friends egging him (or her) on. Throw in lack of experience, and the odds are very ripe for disaster. And that’s before you even factor in alcohol.

  3. Tunes are also a problem. The rule for my teenagers was no tunes while driving. Too many get distracted with the radio/CD and end up running into something.

  4. It’s not always easy to get through to teenagers and conventional methods don’t work for everyone, especially those who are already on the wrong path. Sometimes you need to open your mind to other ways around problems in order to find the solution as this workshop has proved.



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