Speeding, tailgating and road rage, oh my!
Owned and published by UMHB, The Bells is a biweekly publication. This content was previously published in print on the Opinions page. Opinions expressed in this section do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff or the university.
Crusader Way is a scary place.
The recently remodeled road is smooth, wide and perfect for reckless driving.
Though the posted speed limit is 30 mph, students tend to drive as fast as they please in order to reach their destinations. Heaven forbid they get stuck behind someone actually going the speed limit!
Speeding and tailgating go hand in hand as some of the worst driving habits. Combine the two with a self-focused attitude, and the recipe for disaster is fool proof.
Recently on Crusader Way, a friend ran into one of these triple-threat drivers. Though she was going the speed limit, it was not fast enough for the person behind her. The driver tailgated her, flashed his brights, tried to pass her and held down the horn when she didn’t speed up.
Thankfully, she turned at the next intersection, and the reckless motorist behind her gunned the engine and sped away.
Crusader Way isn’t the only issue; cars race through campus and all over town 24/7.
From parking lots to I-35, reckless driving runs rampant among the student population.
According to the Annual Report published by Campus Police, the number of traffic accidents reported on campus increased by approximately 49% in 2011.
As the university transitions to a walking campus, the risks of driving dangerously increase. The number of pedestrians grows every semester, causing more traffic at campus intersections. Students rush from one class to the next, weaving in front of cars and cutting diagonally between crosswalks.
Drivers grow frustrated as the rush of people throw caution to the wind and march across the street without looking both ways. Revving the engine, tapping the horn or inching into the intersection
might seem like a good way to show frustration, but these behaviors can lead to road rage and driving mistakes.
Turn those pedestrians into cars, and the issue of tailgating arises. Rather than being patient, drivers put lives at risk and get uncomfortably close to the vehicles in front of them.
The purpose of tailgating is generally to bully the car ahead into moving aside so a motorist can pass. The risks of tailgating are great, especially when the first car in line slams on its brakes — an instant fender-bender.
Tailgating at 30 mph can cause minor damage. Increase the speed of the vehicles, and the stakes rise. According to the 2011 Texas Department of Transportation’s Motor Vehicle Crash Statistics, Bell
County had more than one third the number of wrecks involving speeding as Travis County, home of the state capital. The faster a car goes, the longer it takes to stop, the greater the amount of damage
The causes of speeding and tailgating are vast. Running late, feeling entitled to drive and visions of Nascar grandeur are probably the leading causes among college students.
But this isn’t Texas Motor Speedway; no matter what the circumstances may be, students should always observe the law and drive carefully, especially on campus.
At our Baptist university, a majority of the students are familiar with the Golden Rule: treat others the way you want to be treated. Or, in this case, “I won’t wreck your car if you don’t wreck mine.”
If students applied this principle to their habits on the road, campus would be a safer place. Instead of driving poorly and being frustrated by others, students should focus on offering grace, leaving space and not trying to break driving records. Save the tailgating for the playoff games and the speeding for scarfing down lunch between classes. One more thing: don’t chase people down Crusader Way.