Not all adolescents are hoons, however lack of experience influences the lack of ability to foresee consequences. Whether intentional or unintentional, if someone has not physically experienced the emotions of a tragedy or near miss; it is impossible to imagine it.
Drivers with experience:
Near fatal crashes are something every driver will most likely experience. They awaken an instinctual impulse that changes your appreciation for life. You consider how quickly everything can be snatched away. It is revealed how fragile and precious your friends and family really are. It promotes passion in the issues surrounding speeding; drinking while under the influence, and recklessness. It surfaces anger and empathy for unlucky families affected by such hoons. It defines the way you see yourself and other drivers, and hence you drive according to that fear by obeying the speed limit; keeping a sharp eye out for potential hazards, and keeping alert. That impulse is held close to your heart, and is something you are reminded of every time youíre behind the wheel.
Drivers without experience:
When I was 17 I ran through a stop sign while listening to music. This was unintentional. No one got hurt or ever accused me of being a hoon. I simply lacked experience, and did not appreciate the consequence of losing concentration. Now combine lack of experience with a deliberate attempt to rampage the road in a futile bid to impress your friends, and you have a hoon. An ignorant young person who puts us and our childrenís lives in danger every time they are behind the wheel. Ignorant at how devastating one simple wrong move can be, and purely oblivious that the impact of their actions heavily outweigh the risk and thrill. Hoons can be of any age; many of which are middle aged and even elderly people succumb to road rage; however prevention needs to be targeted to the disproportionate majority of crashes that lie within the 18 - 25 year old male population.
When my son was six months old we were involved in a head on collision on a 110km/hour bypass, caused by a hoon. Our car was written off, with the rear ending the car that slammed on the brakes in front as the head on occurred. An innocent tank looking four wheel drive ended up in a ditch, and as I pulled my son out of the car shaking, I looked across and saw the parents of this car dragging out their 5 year old son screaming. He was unharmed but in shock. Luckily no one was seriously hurt, but it got me thinking about the four wheel drive. What would have happened if that family were driving a small two door hatchback? Itís a thought I cannot push to the back of my head, even months later.
This thought, plus the few seconds of not knowing if my son was okay is what awakened that impulse in me to drive cautiously, and not trust anyone on the road. Further, it has made me indescribably furious about how the lives of our children are completed disregarded in not only hoon drivers, but also in distracted and tired drivers. I have always loved my son more than anything else in existence, but now I make sure I savour every moment with him. I cuddle him longer, stare at him sleeping, and spend every second I can making him laugh. I appreciate how precious life is, and knowing how my love for my son is not even a petty thought in a young hoons mind as he deliberately whizzes past and cuts me off, (despite the baby on board sticker) simply baffles me. I physically cannot comprehend it. Young children and babies are such innocent creatures, never doing any wrong, seeing the big colourful world through intrigued eyes and wonder; never assuming anything is wrong, and that all people are fascinating and different, which is so ironic and shattering when harm befalls them.
In a bid to protect my baby I made a baby & dash-cam on board sticker. Whether it works Iím not sure. I still get the occasional hoon zooming past me, however, my sign is not just a threat. The benefit (if any) is that there is no doubt in my mind that I will report reckless driving, and will do so very willingly. A fine to pay barely scratches the surface when it comes to paying the consequences of your actions, but itís a start. I believe the only way to combat hoon drivers is to attempt to recreate the real emotions and horror of families affected by senseless, preventable road deaths. True raw emotion evokes a reaction that ads cannot offer. If families spoke to high school classes about their experience of loss, grief, and tragedy; perhaps something will be sparked in young peopleís minds - something that stays with and defines how they drive, and how they approach other drivers when they are behind the wheel. A new angle on targeted prevention of hoons is overdue, and is desperately needed to stop this injustice.