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.