By: Armaan Gill, CO SLC Student
As a newly licensed teen driver in the beautiful state of Colorado, I'm thrilled to experience the freedom and independence that comes with hitting the open road. However, I am also acutely aware of the responsibility I bear behind the wheel. Colorado's legalization of recreational cannabis has presented us with a new challenge: drugged driving, specifically cannabis-impaired driving. In this blog, I want to shed light on the importance of drugged driving prevention, with a particular focus on cannabis impairment, and discuss the steps we can take as teen drivers to ensure the safety of ourselves and others on the road.
Understanding the Impact:
First and foremost, it is crucial for us as teen drivers to understand the impact of cannabis on our ability to operate a vehicle safely. Cannabis can impair our cognitive functions, motor skills, and decision-making abilities. It slows our reaction times and distorts our perception of time and distance. By impairing our judgment, cannabis significantly increases the risk of crash and jeopardizes the lives of everyone on the road.
Education and Awareness:
To effectively prevent cannabis-impaired driving, education and awareness play a pivotal role. We must arm ourselves with knowledge about the effects of cannabis on our bodies and minds. It is essential to understand that even though cannabis is legal for adults in Colorado, it is illegal for us as teens. By staying informed, we can make responsible choices and protect ourselves and others on the road.
To help provide education on this topic, SADD and AAA Northeast partnered to develop a peer-to-peer program curriculum called Shifting Gears: The Blunt Truth About Marijuana & Driving. "Shifting Gears" aims to provide evidence-based information that dispels preconceived notions about cannabis and driving. There are many misconceptions among teens, and it's crucial to have accurate knowledge. By understanding the facts, we can make informed decisions and avoid putting ourselves and others at risk on the road.
Peer Influence and Support:
Peer influence can be a powerful tool in promoting responsible driving practices. We have the opportunity to positively influence our friends and classmates by discussing the risks and consequences of cannabis-impaired driving openly. By openly discussing the risks and consequences with our friends, we can create a culture that prioritizes safety above all else. Together, we can lead by example and make a significant impact in preventing drugged driving.
Community Engagement and Advocacy:
We have the power to drive change within our communities. Engaging in advocacy and raising awareness about the dangers of cannabis-impaired driving can make a real difference. We can participate in local campaigns, school presentations, or community events to educate our peers and community members about the risks and consequences. By speaking up, we can contribute to a safer driving culture and help prevent drugged driving.
As a teen driver in Colorado, I recognize the immense responsibility I have to ensure the safety of myself and others on the road. Preventing drugged driving requires a collective effort from all of us. By staying informed, influencing our peers positively, planning for alternative transportation, and engaging in community advocacy, we can make a significant impact in preventing drugged driving crashes. Let's drive towards responsibility and create a future where drugged driving is eradicated, ensuring the safety and well-being of everyone on Colorado's roads.
For additional information on the dangers of driving impaired and other key driving skills, check out the NRSF Passport to Safe Driving!
Interested in more conversations like this one? Consider joining SADD for the 2023 Summer Conference Series, a virtual event focused on celebrating youth health and safety all summer long. Learn more and register for free below!