Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Daily scary driving experiences

After years of experience, I've come to the conclusion that parents driving their children to school are the worst drivers on the planet. Crazed taxi drivers have nothing on these people.

Over the years, I've seen innumerable near accidents and a few solid hits. I once saw a parent so desperate to get their child to school on time that she jumped a curb and drove at quite a nice clip across the schoolyard to get her child to the door. I'm stunned that no one was killed in that incident.

I now drive our youngest one to high school. That's my daily excitement, and it's usually a great substitute for morning caffeine. Nothing like a little adrenaline poisoning to wake you up! On the rare occasion that there is any enforcement around the high school, they're always forcing people to not stop in what is technically a no parking/no stopping zone to drop their kids off. Instead, they force people to drive into the student parking lot, which just makes the jam and people's nerves that much worse. Thanks, guys. Part of the fun is having drivers with less than a year of experience and cars with waaaaaaay too much power driving in the same lot as parents. Mix in some pedestrians and you have my idea of the fourth circle of hell.

Is there anything we can do about this? Not really. Parents are all convinced that their 'precious cargo' is far more important the the 'precious cargo' of the person in front of them. The only real hope is to reinstate a school busing system. That would be expensive, so it won't happen here. This is one of the few cases where good weather all the time is a serious curse. When I grew up in the upper Midwest, school buses were always available. Indeed, at one point I lived in a place where riding the bus was mandatory, as walking to school, even across a couple of yards, might be deadly.

Perhaps global warming will fix that problem....

Update: It saddens me to see that there was an incident at a nearby school today, just hours after I wrote the above rant. While the circumstances of that specific incident are still unclear, traffic around most schools in this area is a major tragedy just waiting to happen.

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