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Anna Luskin's accident - can we learn from it?

Original post made by Paly Parent, Palo Alto High School, on Jun 30, 2007


I am sorry for starting a new thread, but I wanted to keep this separate from the tributes and I have already posted mine there.

As the very sensible young woman Anna was, I think she would feel the same. If there is any good to come out of her seemingly senseless death, it would be a warning to young drivers. We do not know exactly the cause of her accident but we do know it was a solo accident, not late at night. She was on a long drive, so fatigue probably played a part.

We do not know if she fell asleep at the wheel, was distracted by a cell phone, or music, or radio. Knowing Anna, I feel sure there were no drugs or alcohol involved.

So, to young drivers out there. You are not invulnerable. Accidents do happen to young drivers. The consequences can be devastating.
When we as parents say to you "be careful when you drive", don't use the phone, don't use your ipod, don't get distracted changing cds or radio stations, this is what we are afraid of. We do trust you, but it is not a matter of trust, it is that we want you to be safe.

Please, to all young drivers. Drive safely and take heed of Anna's accident as a warning to us all.

Comments (8)

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Posted by joe
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jul 1, 2007 at 5:45 am

Remembering what it was like when I was first driving, I think lack of experience can play a role. I don't know what the state is of driver's ed these days, or how good it ever was (it started after my time), but I think safety training should be a big part of it, not just teaching people how to parallel park. When we took water safety classes as kids, they drummed into us over and over about what to do and what to beware of, so it just became second nature.

Seeing the adults driving arund with cell phones and the cases of road rage, I have to think there is a lot of this needed. Not that for a minute I think the latter played a role in this fine young woman's situation.

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Posted by Just a couple thoughts
a resident of Professorville
on Jul 1, 2007 at 3:10 pm

I just wanted to mention a couple of things.

First, at the time she was driving, maybe the sunset, or twilight contributed to the accident. I have driven that stretch of freeway many times in the evening and the sunset can be an issue.

Then there can be sooo many things, including an animal crossing the roadway and that she tried to avoid.

The bottom line, is that no matter how attentive a driver is, there can be so many problems driving. Unfortunately road dangers combined with freeway speeds are very unforgiving.

We cannot jump to conclusions on what happened to Anna.

This said I second the above opinions: Don't drive tired, don't use your cell phone while driving, avoid all possible distractions, and don't go to fast... (and of course don't drive under the influence, I am sure Anna wasn't, knowing who she was).

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Posted by Student
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 1, 2007 at 11:48 pm

She was going to be a sophmore in college....thats a possible 5 years of experience for her. The adults aren't invulnerable either. Anna was a very intelligent and caring person, and she will be missed nonetheless.

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Posted by Need to have skills
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 2, 2007 at 7:16 am

I have no idea what happened in that car, or what kind of driver Anna was, but I know there’s a huge majority of drivers out there that have no idea what to do when a car gets out of control.

My daughter was taught how to recover from a slide, panic stop on wet roads (without ABS) and control a car at high speeds before she ever got her license. We wouldn’t let her drive without those skills, and neither will our soon to be driving son.

As far as I’m concerned, it’s FAR too easy to get a license, EVERYONE should have to successfully complete a defensive driving course of some sort before getting a license.

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Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 2, 2007 at 12:17 pm

Unfortunately, good driving takes experience and the only way to get that is lots of practice.

I once had a job where I went out to traffic accidents. Though you don't hear much about it, trees are bad news. Light poles, fences, even buildings will give way and lessen the impact. A tree of any size, just stays right there.

So, light poles and utility poles, yes, trees, no.

Like this comment
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Green Acres
on Jul 6, 2007 at 10:24 am

Need to have skills,
Where do I go to teach my kids such skills? In fact, I'd like to take such a course myself.

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Posted by Jon
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 14, 2007 at 11:44 pm

Ideally... would be cool to have students go to a nearby racetrack and practice driving under hazardous conditions.

And as tragic as this accident was, it is still unclear as to what caused it. Unfortunately this message posted here does not reach many people, but if it was message emphasized in school perhaps that would be more helpful. I encourage "Paly Parent" to bring this issue up to our school board members, all of which welcome such suggestions.

We also must realize that students have heard this message before, and repeating it may fall on deaf ears, but the approach in which this message is carried out needs to be fine tuned to let students understand it is their responsibility to exercise common sense for their safety and the safety of others.

Along with proposing such messages in our educational system, perhaps we can teach students the dangers posed by lighting a match on the hottest day of summer in a dry hillside...

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Posted by E
a resident of another community
on Nov 18, 2007 at 3:15 pm

First of all... anna would never ever be drunk, under the influence, or tired while taking her BROTHER back home. I know this for a fact.. and yes, you can pretty much turn any tragedy into a "lesson". But does it really need to be? Any single car accident could be turned into a "lesson" There is no lesson because anna was a safe driver. I drove with her on many occasions, and she always drove with the utmost carfullness. Trying to probe this tradgedy into something it's not is a disgrace to Anna and her memory. No one will ever know what happened.. not even danny who was asleep at the time! so "paly parent" no.. this isn't a lesson. And of course she wasn't asleep at the wheel, or driving drunk.. you may not know this.. but us who are close to Jan and fred do. Just because you don't know the full story don't make assumptions about what she was or was not doing.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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