No, not the classic eighties movie starring the two Coreys (although, that could be awesome). But rather, I'd love to talk about actual teen tales from behind the wheel.
Driving is a major rite of passage for a teen, right? When I was reading Girl, Stolen yesterday, of the various challenges that Cheyenne's blindness poses for her, the fact that she can't drive is one that stands out - both for Cheyenne, and for me as a reader. Being blinded (in a car accident, ironically) at age fifteen means that Cheyenne will never experience driving as a sighted person, something that she has trouble making peace with. I can't blame her. For a teenager, driving equals freedom, and Cheyenne's independence has already been stripped away since losing her sight. Not being able to drive is just one more example of insult added to her (literal) injury.
Full disclosure: when I was a teen, I was a TERRIBLE driver. I mean, awful. I was the first of my group of friends to get my license, and lucky enough to get a car at the same time, so of course, I became our "wheels." I was all too happy to take on that role.
Behind the wheel, I was fearless. I truly believed I was immortal and as such, made a habit of driving recklessly. I was big at speeding, and I actually had a few car accidents during my high school/college years (thank goodness, I was alone during those crashes, and no one was hurt. I'd never forgive myself if I'd injured anyone). In fact, I totaled the car my father had given me for my 17th birthday - just days before I was due to hand it over to my younger brother. To this day I feel awful for robbing him of his chance to be his high school "wheel guy."
After crashing my car, I finally wised up. Once the car was gone, the consequences of my irresponsible behavior were all too obvious. We didn't have money to buy me a new one, so I made do. And thought a lot about why I'd so blatantly disregarded basic issues of safety - what was it about being young, in my car, that made me feel so invincible?
The next time I had a car of my own, I was a college graduate commuting to and from my job at a NJ newspaper. Getting behind the wheel, I was nervous (living through a major wreck will do that to you). These days, I drive like a little old lady - cautious, slow, and steady, on high alert. But I'm fine with that.
So what I'd love to hear from you teen readers is: what have your experiences been behind the wheel? Are you the "wheel guy?" Are your parents strict about driving? Where do you and your friends go? In Kody Keplinger's The Duff, Bianca's friends sometimes do the classic "cruise." My group and I were way too uptight to drive around aimlessly - we went to the diner, or the mall. If I had it all to do over again, I don't think I'd change that (I seriously loved that diner. Awesome cheese fries).
But I'd definitely be a more responsible driver.