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The Perennial

The Perennial

Learning to Drive: Pinewood Teens (Nervously) Take the Wheel

Abi Wessel

   My dad yells at me from the passenger seat to brake. I quickly move my foot over to the brake and push down hard. The car jolts back. I am overcome with nervous- ness.

   Learning to drive is a monumental event in a person’s life that is scary yet exhilarating. Many students at Pinewood are experiencing these varying emotions as they learn how to drive a car for the first time.

   I got my permit this May, and ever since, I have begged my parents to let me drive anywhere we go. Driving a car makes me feel powerful because I have control over such a big vehicle; however, it also has the capacity for a great deal of danger. I am constantly worried about hitting bikers or accidentally letting the wheel slip from my hands. With the right mindset and smart decisions, I begin to trust in my driving more and more each day.

   Sophomore Dhruv Gupta recently got his permit and feels similarily.

   “It was pretty exciting, but it was also kind of scary because I knew that I was in charge of something that had a lot of power,” Gupta said. “It’s hard to remember that you are driving a huge vehicle. Sometimes you can space out and feel like you’re just cruising along as a passenger.”

   Gupta and I are both excited to get our licenses soon because we feel we will be given greater freedom and be able to leave the house without waiting for our parents to take us.

   Junior Lacey Armistead got her license in July, and she feels it has changed her life for the better. However, in September, Armistead experienced the dangers of driving first-hand — she was changing lanes and hit a car in her blind spot.

   “I felt really bad because it was my fault,” Armistead said. “And I felt so guilty and was disappointed in myself.”

   Even senior Sophia Yao, who has more driving experience, finds herself in similar dangerous situations.

   “I checked my blind spot before I turned into the [inter]section, but when I was waiting for the two cars in front of me to go before me, I didn’t check my blind spot again,” Yao said. “There was a car going straight down the road, and I crashed into it.”

   Additionally, the parking lot at Pinewood Upper Campus adds to many students’ stress. Cars barely fit in the tiny parking spaces, almost don’t make the turns and go flying over the pointy speed bumps. The parking lot gets extremely congested during dropoff and pick up, which makes it even worse.

   “The speed bumps in the parking lot are literally vicious,” Yao said.

   As for me, navigating the Pinewood parking lot for the first time was difficult because I didn’t know how to handle the steering wheel well, so it was hard for me to drive along the windy path. But with experience, I have begun to improve, and I am excited to get my own parking spot and explore new places on my own.


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