By Eric Villanueva ’11
There are several types of drivers out on the roads: truck drivers, SUV drivers and compact car drivers.
I do not necessarily mean just what type of vehicle someone drives. Rather there are three different mentalities drivers fall into.
As the entire school can either drive or will drive in the next year or two, we all have to look out for these mentalities in each other and ourselves on the roads.
When I drive my parents’ Honda Accord, I notice that truck drivers and SUV drivers seem to think they own the road.
Most of these cars are large and sit high off the ground (notwithstanding extra large wheels) and have a commanding view of the road.
Using their size, they seem to be the most aggressive drivers as they ride against the backs of smaller cars, pushing them faster, and change lanes dangerously.
SUV drivers are the most prone to switch into lanes without turn signals and try to force their way into small gaps between other cars.
I apologize to students who disagree with me because they either drive their parents’ or own SUVs or trucks. I truly believe you conform to these societal mentalities subconsciously and not by your own choosing.
To be fair, I have not forgotten compact car drivers, which I include myself in.
Just like for truck drivers on the other side of the continuum, size is important in the mentality of the driver.
Instead of thinking like a tank operator, compact car drivers think of themselves like light-weight missiles fired from cannons as they speed through red lights.
Compact car drivers like to pretend they are airplane pilots and try to take-off from the roadway.
The combination of these mentalities makes roads and highways unsafe.
Nonetheless, last year was one of the safest years on record.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on March 11, in 2009 the total number of traffic fatalities declined 8.9 percent from 2008 to reach its lowest level since 1954.
There were 33,963 deaths in car accidents as compared to 37,261 fatalities the previous year. The roads are less congested as less people drive to work and travel with the high unemployment rate, according to NHTSA.
However, the peak of fatalities was still between July and August during summer break and the start of school.
From this information, we learn car accidents and fatalities directly correlate with school and work commutes.
With many driving or carpooling to school, students need to be undistracted while driving.
Besides changing the radio or chatting with friends, one of the many distractions student drivers face is texting.
In a Roundup poll published in the March edition, 79 percent of 109 student respondents said they occasionally or frequently text while driving. This is the one characteristic shared by all roadway mentalities, which needs to stop.
Regardless of what car you drive, these dangerous mentalities will cost all of us in the end, perhaps even our lives.