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Viewpoint: 10 tips for safer driving on campus

If the little piles of broken headlight glass littered about the roads on campus aren’t enough of an indicator, the students and faculty of Weber State University need a quick lesson on driving safety.

Being a campus largely made up of students who commute (drive in their own vehicles) to school, it is imperative that each of us honor basic traffic and driving regulations. There are too many cars zooming around the campus for even one student to drive negligently.

Here’s a basic refresher course on the 10 steps to being a better student driver. These are rules which should be followed everywhere, but deserve special attention when driving on, around, to or from WSU’s campus.

  1. It appears that most on-campus accidents seem to be happening in the roundabouts, so here’s a quick refresher on roundabout safety. Drivers making right-hand turns need to get in the right-hand lane, using signals. Drivers making left-hand turns should enter the left lane, using signals. Drivers going straight ahead should use the same lane they entered. And the golden rule for roundabouts is “yield instead of merge.” Drivers in the circle have the right of way, so wait for a gap.
  2. Drive slowly through the parking lots. Even when a recently vacated spot is beckoning you to hurry, don’t risk hitting a pedestrian or another car backing out by speeding.
  3. Parking is not a war. Though the overabundance of ‘W’ parking passes would suggest otherwise, each morning is not a competition for spots. Let people in and out of their spots, take time to parallel-park correctly, and if someone is turning right into a parking spot, they have the right of way.
  4. Blinkers are still necessary on campus. Though the pace of traffic on campus is slower, turn signals should still be used to indicate direction of movement. This change alone would keep a lot of minor fender-benders from occurring.
  5. Do not make sudden U-turns. Even when a coveted spot suddenly pops up across the road, don’t risk an accident just to get into it.
  6. Stop for pedestrians. It shouldn’t be insulting every time you need to stop and let a pedestrian cross the street. That being said, pedestrians need to make their intent to cross clear and cross at designated crosswalks.
  7. Texting, voicemails, e-mail, eating, and messing around with friends can all happen while the car is parked — not before or after. We’re all in a hurry to check our messages as soon as we get in the car after class, or we’re hungry, or we need to talk, but the campus is filled with tight curves and blind corners, and distractions can be deadly.
  8. Slow down and pull over for emergency vehicles. Because campus is located so close to McKay-Dee Hospital, ambulances and other vehicles frequently need to get through Harrison Boulevard as fast as they can. Be civically responsible by pulling all the way over for them, and not driving behind them to decrease the time of your own commute.
  9. Idle-free is the way to be. This safety threat might be less immediate, but it’s just as harmful.
  10. Remember that we’re all trying to get to the same place. We’re all students, which means we’re all busy, and we’re all always late to something. Take the time to be considerate of other drivers, even when they might not reciprocate.
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