Opinion: Keep Your Teens Off The Roads l Avi Gutfreund

With bein hazmanim in full effect, the conditions on the roads of Lakewood have taken a serious turn for the worse. Granted, traffic is always bad, and drivers often careless. But during bein hazmanim the ratio of good drivers to bad drivers drops to well below acceptable levels. Driving, or rather swerving, around town becomes a daily rollercoaster, one which I find no joy in going on.

The number one reason the roads get so horrible is because of the tremendous surge in young drivers hitting the roads (and other cars). Thousands of teenagers finish their school semester or zman and immediately begin taking their parents cars to hang out with their friends. I have no qualms with teens being with their friends, but these youngsters getting behind the wheel are making our roads unsafe. It’s quite common to see a minivan stacked with 8 or more kids making a ruckus and keeping the inexperienced driver’s eyes off the road.

A lot of these teens taking to the roads are complete beginners, many having only their driving permits. I understand that new drivers need to get a feel for driving, but is right before Pesach the right time for that? Why not wait until the summer when Lakewood’s roads are less congested to get in your driving hours? I don’t blame the kids for wanting to get behind the wheel – I remember the excitement of getting my permit too. The fault lies at the feet of the parents who recklessly allow these little kids to take the keys and put other drivers in danger.

To be clear, I am not saying every parent who allows their teen to drive during bein hazmanim is irresponsible. There are always a ton of errands that need to be done and having an extra driver can be a tremendous help. I am referring to the times when a teen has no other reason to be on the roads other than because they find it fun to drive and show their friends they can drive.

If you are the parent of a teenager who has just started their driving careers, please think twice before handing your kid the keys. Bein hazmanim is a time when there are more cars on the road, even without the teens on them. People are shopping and running errands all day as Pesach approaches. If your child is a rookie driver, keep them off the roads, for your sake, their sake, and the sake of all drivers.

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  1. Unfortunately I think it is the adults who forgot the laws of driving. I find that they don’t know the laws of right turn on red. You must stop fully and make sure no cars are coming before turning. If you have a stop sign and the intersection doesn’t the other person has the right of way. These are basics which people need to follow. If the parents are driving this way the teens will follow! I’ve had many near accidents just this week and the drivers were adults.

  2. Really you think that its the teenagers who don’t know how to drive? Its everyone in this town. Instead of picked on the teenagers lets tell all the men who are in a rush to go somewhere to slow down stop at stop signs and red lights! Then we can stop blaming the wrong group of people

  3. A Bochur driving a very large van accidentally hit my parked van in a parking lot this week. He felt bad and was very responsible in his response. Still, it’s difficult to be dealing with another hassle erev Pesach. And think about the cost, guilt, etc. you are putting on a teenager in such a situation.

  4. If your teen just came back from Israel and has not driven in a year, have them take a couple of lessons before letting them drive your car

  5. last week you didnt want them to hitch. this week you dont want them to drive. Do YOU have teenage sons? do you let them out of your house?

  6. Every driver has to start somewhere, has to be a beginner until the experience accumulates.
    The earlier you learn, the smoother a driver you’ll be for life.
    So the only answer would be to get experience as a student driver with a driving instructor beside you. Costs money, but safer for everyone.

  7. Excellent article!!! Granted that driving lessons are important in the driving learning process,one is really not just ready to drive upon passing the road test. Safe and sound driving skills only come with time through actual experience. And here in Lakewood it’s a whole new ballgame, where safety, survival, and some hustle ( if you actually want to reach your destination) are necessary. Of course give them the opportunity to drive, for if not now then when will they learn, but perhaps wait for a calmer time. (Chol Hamoed and Chodesh Av would be a great time)

  8. the worst is when a teen drives a car full of teens trying to show off and being very reckless , many of them have no idea how to use mirrors or change lanes, a true sakana and Shanda!

  9. 1st you think you own the roads then you say then adults drive responsibly I think if all these responsible adults would get off there phones the roads would be safer for every one P. S. most teenagers drive slow I know you hqate them but that’s ok but keep on owning the roads just don’t forget to fix the pot wholes if you own them

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