You just finished a test in the testing center. You have five minutes before your next class in the GT building. You haven’t eaten. The only thing on your mind is grabbing a pizza and hiking up five flights of stairs. You hurry across the crosswalk thinking how nice it is that someone actually stopped for you. The last thing you see before you wake up in a hospital is a flash of silver and an “H” flying at you.
You may think to yourself “That can’t happen to me. I always wait at the crosswalk.” But, do you?
I saw someone almost die because a silver Honda decided it didn’t want to wait at a crosswalk. Four cylinders of fury, tearing down the road and around my car into the oncoming lane, narrowly avoiding smearing another student across the asphalt.
I am not a silent person. I do not forget injustices made against me. Yet, my biggest flaw is that I am silent at the injustices made against others. But no more. This is an issue that can result in serious injury, permanent handicap, or death. I am compelled to speak out.
I’m a commuter. I’m only on campus two days a week, but as I make that journey I am filled with great anxiety. I know that when I arrive on campus I will get cut off and almost rear-ended. I’ll worry about my doors and bumpers being compromised, all the while trying to focus on what I’m learning.
I’ve driven quite a bit across this nation. Without hesitation I can state that Utah is the worst state I have ever driven in. Rush hour in metropolises like Houston, Dallas and Denver all fall short of the danger that is driving in this valley. You would have to be insane to get behind the wheel of a car here, but I make the commute anyway, because I want to get through school, hopefully without dying.
Motorists in Utah drive like they’re late for the birth of their child. News flash: Whatever it is you’re speeding to, it’s less important than staying alive.
Driving is a privilege. It’s a very easy one to obtain, but it isn’t a right given to you by God. It can be revoked. Also, how you drive may well be representative of other aspects of your life. Maybe you should just sit back and enjoy the ride, instead of being in such a hurry. It feels better that way.
A few small changes to your daily routine will prevent the constant hurry that everyone seems to be in. It may also alleviate school stress as well. Double whammy.
First, wake up a little earlier. Just waking up five to ten minutes earlier will give you that extra time you need to stop for pedestrians, who are just trying to get like class like you. You’ll also be more alert before that first class. Waking up early only helps, though, if you leave the house earlier as well. Try it. It may not seem like much, but it will make all the difference.
Second, don’t drive angry. You’re not Nicolas Cage, so there’s no need to rage behind the wheel. This one will be a bit difficult, as others may still commit vehicular transgressions against you, but forgive them. To err is human. When someone cuts me off, I get upset for a second, curse violently, then breathe in and continue on my way. Does it really matter? I am not more important than everyone else.
Third, remember that you aren’t more important than anyone else. There is a person inside every one of those other cars. They have lives, families, and responsibilities just like you. Don’t see the car as some machine you have wronged when you run a stop sign. See them as people.
People behind the wheel aren’t the only ones to blame though. Pedestrians, the crosswalks are there for you to be able to traverse the street safely. It’s the area that is marked with flashing lights and thick while lines. Cross there. Not near them. In them. Please.
To those that already drive patiently, take this advice, and remember it. Pass it along. Honking at someone who drives poorly isn’t wrong. It’s a way of saying, “Hey, other drivers, look at this idiot.” When people are on display, they’re more likely to think about what they are doing.
There may be those among you planning to profit from this possible surge of drive-time patience, but think before you do. Getting to class early, or on time, is great. Getting there alive is even better.
By Cameron Simek