In the Driver’s Seat

Senior Alexia Sanchez is about the leave her house in her car, which she just finished washing. Keeping the family car clean is one of her responsibilities now that she is able to use it.

One of the more memorable milestones in life is getting a license and having access to a car.

For students at HBA, being able to drive yourself to and from school, especially for seniors, is definitely a perk. For one, seniors who drive (and their friends) are no longer limited to school lunches. During lunch or independence periods, many HBA seniors leave the campus with friends to pick up take-out or treats such as boba tea or Starbucks beverages. In addition, since they are no longer subject to their families’ work schedules, seniors with cars who do not have class during the first or last period of the day have the option of arriving later or leaving earlier.

Senior Drew Yoshida, who got his license in the summer before junior year, said, “Having the freedom to drive anywhere and whenever is a benefit because I’m a busy person who is [now] able to take myself anywhere without having to ask my parents to drop me off.” Yoshida used to be nervous about driving, in part because of his first driving test. “When I took my first driving test, I failed because I ran through a puddle and it splashed nearby cars even though I was driving at 5 mph and couldn’t go around it,” he said. He is glad that he no longer feels anxious when he drives.

Many students enjoy the responsibility that comes with the license to drive. They feel that they have become more independent and have earned their parents’ trust. But this responsibility often comes with new obligations. “The bad thing is that if you have a sibling, you turn into their chauffeur and if your parents want something, you have to do their errands,” Yoshida said.

Senior Kacie Kaneshiro has a similar experience. “The benefits are that I don’t have to rely on my parents or other people to drive me around, so I’m able to go out more. But now that I can drive, my parents always ask me to go on errands and drive my younger sister around,” she said.

In addition to driving siblings around and running errands for others, these new drivers are expected to be responsible for car maintenance. Kaneshiro, who lives about 30 minutes away from school, has to fill up her gas tank weekly, costing her about $40 each time.

Sophomore Jeremy Oyer, one of just a few in his class who are old enough to drive, shared what he keeps in mind when it comes to driving: “You’re not an expert so don’t think you are one. Don’t think you are a great driver even if you are. Be serious when you are driving and don’t take it lightly. It is a big responsibility and privilege to be able to drive. Drive defensively and be aware of your surroundings. Don’t speed but if you do, make sure you don’t get caught. Be courteous when driving and make sure you adhere to all the laws. Drive as safely as possible,” he said.

Senior Alexia Sanchez thinks that even though being able to drive has its obligations, it’s definitely a privilege she is happy to have. “I’m glad that I have been given the ability and responsibility to help my parents out when they need it. Driving can definitely be scary at first, but is something that is very rewarding and helpful to have,” she said.

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