Opinion: Reversing the driver courtesy nosedive

In their rush to get to their job or class on time, students and faculty frequently ignore parking space boundaries, making safe parking difficult for fellow pupils and colleagues. Since the start of the semester, there have been numerous vehicular incidents, including five hit and runs – four with no injuries and one with an injury – and two reckless driving occurrences.

With roughly 30,000 enrolled students at American River College, which houses five parking lots and a parking structure on campus, navigating the lots for parking spaces and getting to class on time can prove to be a bit of a hassle.

Matters aren’t helped when one’s peers have the tendency to think only of themselves.

There is a problem with impatient and reckless student drivers on campus, and as fellow pupils and adults it’s time that that we shift into reverse and brake (sic) these trends.

Since the start of the semester, there have been numerous vehicular incidents, including five hit and runs – four with no injuries and one with an injury – and two reckless driving occurrences.

Students in a rush speed around the corners of the parking garage, narrowly avoiding other cars and pedestrians, and frequently double park in parking spots, which makes it impossible for other students to park and hampers their ability to get to class on time.

On any given day, students in the parking structure will find vehicles squeezed into spaces that are too small, which leads to dents and dings in the cars parked on either side when students are entering and exiting their vehicles.

There are always the fallback excuses of having to get to class on time or having to be somewhere important as soon as possible, but these excuses are just that – excuses. They come from a complete lack of empathy in regards to other students who face the same problems.

Cell phones, mp3 players, and other devices used while driving further the problem.

It has become common knowledge that texting or talking on the phone while driving can distract a driver’s spatial awareness, but even alternatives like hands-free headsets still distract drivers.

According to an April 2012 report done by the National Safety Council, 30 research studies and reports done by scientists around the world have confirmed that using hands-free handsets offer no safety benefit to drivers over traditional cell phone setups.

Would slowing down in the parking lots and inside the parking structure so that pedestrians can safely cross the street really cut into one’s time to find a parking spot and get to class on time?

Can a student survive staying off their cell phone or electronic device while driving in the ARC parking lot?

Finally, does it really take too much time to make sure one’s car is parked properly so that it doesn’t affect the next driver who may park in the next spot over?

These are rhetorical questions, obviously.  Sacrificing the safety and well-being of fellow students isn’t even something that should be considered in the first place.

Little things, like checking to make sure one’s car is parked within the provided lines of the space as well as obeying the 15 mph speed limit while driving on campus contribute to a decrease in vehicle-related incidents.

Once a student enters the campus, they can take the time to stay off their electronic devices to ensure they are alert and aware while hunting down a parking spot.

Students should take a few seconds out of their busy day to think of the person who is making the commute to the same destination as them.

We are all here in pursuit of expanding our education, our future career prospects, and to enjoy the time we have with the fellow students that make our day shine just a little brighter.

Students should do everything in their power to ensure that their fellow peers as well as themselves encounter as little hassle as possible while in the parking lots or parking garage.

All of us here at ARC have the opportunity to get to class on time and play our part in bringing the “community” back to the community college experience.

That lane of success lies in observance of ourselves and our actions before we even step through the door to our first class.

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About the Author

Lena DoBynes

Lena DoBynes is a second-semester student on the Current, where she serves as News editor. She is majoring in journalism and plans to transfer to Sacramento State.

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