16 and driving what?!

Erin Wronka, Editor-in-Chief

               Our teenage years are packed with many milestones in life, from getting into R-rated movies at the age of 17, to receiving our learners’ permit at only 15. The one birthday that teens anxiously await is that Sweet 16, when it’s finally legal to get behind the wheel of a car without the parents being involved. Many earn that driver’s license is earned after several hours of practice with Mom frantically yelling from the passenger’s seat, and also much time spent on the Driver’s Ed range. With that license in hand, this is where the ultimate decision must be made: what kind of car is suitable for them?

                All too often, it seems that teens these days are handed brand new cars with no idea as to how they’ve even earned it. Just looking around the parking lot at ELHS is the perfect way to witness proof of this statement, as numerous students have been blessed with 2011 vehicles. From little Honda Civics to Ford Mustangs, many teens get to choose any car they would like just because they’ve received their license. This has irked me since my sophomore year, when I saw the number of my classmates lucky enough to buy gorgeous cars as soon as they could drive. I’ll admit to being extremely jealous, but it’s not just that. What do people learn when their parents spoil them with $20,000 cars right off the bat?

                Several of my friends, including myself, did NOT get to purchase any automobile we wanted when we got our licenses. My parents expected me to get a job, make a decent paycheck, and then would I have even somewhat of a chance to drive one of the cars we already owned. That year, my family had purchased a 1998 Dodge Neon for my older sister and myself to use, so it’s obvious we weren’t cruising around in a new sports car. It never bugged me that I was using such an old car as long as I had something to drive. Getting from Point A to Point B is really only what matters to me.

                This being said, I’ve learned to deal with used cars and just feel blessed to drive anything. With that in mind, I don’t understand how parents could go out and drop an unbelievable amount of money on a 2012 model so their precious child can have the best car possible. From this point on, won’t that teen just expect to always have such a luxurious car, when realistically it’ll take a long time for any of us to be able to afford such a thing? It’s great when the parents are paying for the car, insurance, and gas right now, but good luck to these teens when they’re out in the real world struggling to make ends meet.

                I just don’t get buying a nice car for teens when used cars are practically designed for new drivers. All we need are the basics to get us from place to place, and the flaws in the car will make us appreciate a new one some day. It’s understandable that buying an old automobile without today’s safety features wouldn’t be a popular point with parents, but not every used one is like that. There’s so many options out there online, or on the side of the road, that eventually some used car will meet kids’ needs. 

                Getting that license is such a big step in life that parents shouldn’t take it too far by allowing their child the perfect car right away. There’s so much money to be saved in not buying a new car, and people won’t automatically assume these kids are spoiled just by the ride they pull up in. Hopefully some day we can all drive BMWs, but for now that little Neon will suffice.