Slow down, in life and while driving

Hannah Schulz is the Head Copy Editor for the Newswire. She is a senior Digital Innovation, Film and Television major from Cincinnati.

If one more person cuts me off in traffic, I am going to scream.

One of my biggest pet peeves is when people are bad drivers. I hate watching people switch lanes without using a turn signal or not understand what “right turn on red except from right lane” means. It blows my mind when people seem to either ignore or not comprehend what these basic, everyday traffic laws mean.

Why does this happen? Are people in that big of a hurry, or do they just think they won’t be caught? Turn signals are a flip of the wrist, and running yellow lights when it’s risky will maybe        save you a few seconds of drive time. Is it really worth it?

I’m far from a perfect driver — I exceed the speed limit and mess with my music often while driving. I won’t claim to be a saint, but I find it unnecessary for people to constantly break laws that are put in place to make us safe. Is it worth it to go 60 mph in a 35 mph zone and risk the possibility of crashing and killing a pedestrian or someone in another car?

More than 37,000 people died in car crashes in 2017, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. And what’s worse, all of these deaths were preventable. We as a society are always running everywhere — rarely taking a second to breathe. We need to slow down and think about our actions and what the possible outcomes are.

While it’s less likely that not using your turn signal will kill someone, there’s always a chance someone is in your blind spot and you won’t notice until it’s too late. You don’t think it’ll happen to you until it does. And besides, who really wants to pay a $100 fine to the government?

While our laws across the board aren’t perfect, obeying the law is more than worth it if it saves even one life, let alone 37,000. And if it saves you money, as many of us don’t have a lot of it to spare, I feel that’s a worthy cause.

I understand that there are some traffic laws that don’t make sense. For example, why should I be going 45 mph on this section of highway when there’s no construction going on? Closed lanes also seem closed for a longer stretch than they should be. And please, don’t get me started on zipper merges. Yes, I know how they’re supposed to work in theory, but they just don’t in application. I’m not letting someone over at the last second when they’re just trying to speed by traffic.

There’s also the issue that traffic laws vary by state or city. In some places, bicycles are allowed on the sidewalk, while in other places, they must remain on the road. It’s a good idea to be educated on traffic laws in whatever city or state you are living in. If you want to learn something you’ll use often, educate yourself on how to properly encounter bicyclists while driving, as I’ve had many people almost hit me while riding to and from class. My bicyclist friends and I thank you.

Next time you’re driving, put down your phone, use your turn signal and go a decent speed. Your destination isn’t moving, it’ll be there when you arrive.