The PHS traffic mess
Mad rush to leave parking lot causes chaos, triggers accidents
By Eunice Park
Brakes screech, music blasts from cars, and students yell and honk at their friends asking to get in line during this mad rush to leave.
This happens when 439 cars, according to the school office, race out of the parking lot to the one singular exit after school. Due to this chaos, multiple accidents have occurred within the parking lot and the parking lot entrance over the course of years.
Immature and inexperienced drivers do not account for the majority of drivers, so it may not be seen on everyday roads. But our high school parking lot is a microcosm (a little world; a world in miniature) of teen driving.
“Often times there is a lot of rear-ending due to drivers being on their phones or talking to friends,” said Mark Lepkowski, school resource officer. “A few students will also travel at high speeds within the lot. Just the other day, I had to tell a student to slow down because he hit a patch of ice and he could have caused a major accident.”
Driving allows many high school students the freedom to travel where they need to without having to pester their parents for a ride.
However, this liberty is often a danger to students and the people around them.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, young people ages 15-24 are responsible for 30 percent, or $19 billion, of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries among males and 28 percent, or $7 billion, of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries among females.
Why are these statistics so high among young people. There are a variety of factors, however, the two largest contributors are inexperience and immaturity.
Here at Perrysburg High School it’s common for students to get their licenses and cars by sophomore year. Many students believe that inexperience as drivers and immaturity leads students to make bad decisions when driving.
“I think I drive a lot more responsibly and I’m more aware of what I do,” said senior Hunter Frydenlund, comparing how he drove as a sophomore. “I don’t cut people off and speed.”
Not only do students see this in themselves but some upperclassmen, who have younger siblings that are beginning to drive, are observing the behavioral differences between their driving and their sibling’s.
“[My younger sister] is kind of cocky when she drives,” said senior Lauren Sweeny. “And I think certain traits tend to show more when you drive.”
I asked Lauren Sweeny’s sophomore sister, Kayla Sweeny, what she thought as well.
“Some seniors are better than sophomore drivers,” she said. “But some sophomores are more careful than seniors because seniors, get like, ‘oh, I’m a senior, I don’t have to use a turn signal or something.’ ”
So how can we combat these dangerous attitudes?
Some students believe if adults educate and caution young drivers about the consequences of their actions, it can help subside cockiness and recklessness when they drive alone.
“I feel like part of it is your driving skills, who taught you, and of course experience,” senior Drew Gryczewski said. “The more you drive, usually, the better you’ll be.”
Officer Lepkowski said there are issues outside of speeding and not paying attention.
“In years prior, I’ve seen passengers throwing things at people’s cars that could cause property damage,” he said. “Kids really don’t see their cars as their own personal property.”
So, are Perrysburg students oblivious to their privilege? And does it largely contribute to the recklessness and dangers in the parking lot?
“I think that there are some students that do take responsibility for their cars, like me for example,” senior Chris Bellavia said. “I don’t rely on my parents for car things. If they offer to take care of it, then great, but if not, I take care of it. But there are a lot of Perrysburg kids that always go to their parents for their cars and stuff so I don’t think they realize their privilege.”
He doesn’t believe ignorance for special privileges brought upon accidents.
“I don’t think it matters in the end,” Bellavia said. “Everyone’s gotta pay in the end one way or another, and it sucks regardless.”