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College Drivers: My Experience Behind the Wheel My experience in college is fairly comparable to any other student. I study, I attend class, I go to work, I hang out with my friends. I try to make an effort to get what I can out of my experience. Nothing out of the ordinary ever happens. I don’t ever notice something peculiar or interesting on a daily basis. Before transitioning to college, I lived in an average sized town where nothing really happened. Life was rather boring. With my day to day activities and a little bit of background in mind, it’s reasonable to understand that I could probably pick up on something odd or peculiar. Although I’ve noticed nothing in my daily routine that may be interesting, I have recognized a drastic and sometimes surprising change from what I’m used to. People in this city are, for the most part, terrible drivers. After three years of observation and personal experience, I’ ve tried to understand and rationalize this phenomena. I’ve determined that there are many possible causes for drivers’ behavior, including: geography, diversity, personal options, city layout, and personal responsibility. My hopes are that these photos will better illustrate my point.

Almost everyone considers themselves to be good drivers. Logic tells us that we passed the tests and earned our licenses, so we must be good drivers. My “average” hometown and my personal experience have shown me that the idea is, for the most part, true. Human beings with reason and common sense can truly learn, pass the test, and earn the right to operate a vehicle in this great state. I came to this school with the intention of earning an education. The habits of my peers, especially on the road, was the least of my concerns.


One of the first things I noticed during my freshman year on campus was the vast number of buses. Our public transportation system is outstanding. One would assume that with an efficient transportation system, travel on campus would be easy. This is where we will begin to assess the driving situation on campus. Bus drivers understandably have a tedious, and at times dry, job. I can see why some drivers would become agitated, aggressive, or even careless. Poor driving on the part of a large fraction of campus drivers(public trans) could actually affect some less experienced drivers.


A wonderful aspect of our school is the diversity. Students come from all over the country and all over the world. Each student brings from their home, state, or nation a unique culture. They bring ideas, personalities, entertainment, and driving standards. A diverse student body means a diverse knowledge, including a knowledge of vehicles and road rules. I believe this may alone be the sole reason I see these people as poor drivers. Many of these students have spent their adult lives under standards that exceed or fall short of standards we are accustomed to. Diversity is fantastic for a learning environment, but in hazardous conditions, we all need to be on the same page.


As a student driver, I find myself being cut-off on a daily basis. Surely everyone has experienced the situation: you’re driving along, when all of a sudden, some madman veers in front of you and nearly causes an accident. In most occasions, we see (or imagine) an extremely angry person or someone who is just a jerk. I’d like to raise a different explanation, at least for the case in our little town. The roads are just too complex. Many drivers just are not experienced enough for the current system. We have one-ways, mergers, five way intersections, and weird shapes made out of asphalt that I’d never seen until I came to this school.


At this time, I’d like to take a break from offering excuses to my peers and address the ugly truth. Sometimes, student (or faculty) drivers are just lazy and personally irresponsible. Anyone who owns a vehicle has noticed this phenomena on campus. Vehicles that crowd lines, double parking, and illegal parking. It’s important enough that the city needs parking enforcement, yet drivers find a way to show off their skills. My goal is not to complain or draw attention to a parking epidemic, but this is certainly an interesting trend that I have noticed in my years in this community.


Among my many observations of the campus driver, I’ve come to notice, and loathe, the fact that “legal�, empty parking spaces are rather elusive. Personally I find this very interesting. The places where I live, work, shop, and relax all have an abundance of free, available parking spaces. As soon as my tires cross over into campus territory, available parking spaces become a luxury. During a hunt one fateful day, I found this beauty. The sight intrigued me and so I continued to investigate. Sadly, these spots are only available after most classes are let out, but remain empty during the day due to parking restrictions. Surprisingly, this has become an oddity in my college experience.


The grim truth is that sometimes, accidents do happen. The bright spot in this fiasco is that the university is making strides to protect its students from irresponsible drivers. I have had the pleasure of participating in a class which gave its students an important task: design a safer crosswalk. Hundreds of students set off to make the university a safer place. I felt pride in myself and in the university. In all my experiences at this institution, this was one that managed to improve upon a negative situation.


We, the students, are blessed with a plethora of choices in our lives. We have been given a diverse selection of majors, schools, food, entertainment, and even vehicles. This mimics the diversity of our student body. Of all the ideas I’ve explored with these photos, the diverse drivers have intrigued me the most. Realistically, there is no one group of students who drive poorly. The diversity of our vehicles represents the likelihood that any of us will make a mistake on the road. Whether someone is cut-off by a truck, or T-boned by a minivan, we cannot predict who will do it, but it will probably happen in the vicinity of campus.


Photo Essay-Revised