Jaywalking is a life or death decision on Southern campus

Jacob WaringOpinions & Features Editor

Imagine this scenario: You are at the intersection of Wintergreen and Farnham and you are waiting for the signal to switch from stop to walk. It is taking forever, and you impatiently hit the button thinking it would expedite the process. You glance both ways and cross. A speeding car, or someone not paying attention while on their phone, causes the vehicle to have a near-miss at you, or crushing you like a soda can.

It infuriates me to no end when I see someone jaywalk. Perhaps it is the mythical millennial laziness or perhaps college students just tend to become impatient at crosswalks. Jaywalking may seem harmless, but you could die or be seriously maimed.

Last fall, a freshmen student crossed the intersection while the light was green assuming that it was safe to cross. That assumption was an error because she ended up getting hit. Thankfully it was not a fatality, but she did get hit by the front driver-side bumper and hood of the vehicle, leading to an leg injury that resulted in wearing a boot for weeks.

Vehicles are not made of feathers. They are subjected to the laws of physics. Last I checked, we fragile beings known as humans will always lose against vehicles.

According to Smart Growth America, from 2008 to 2017 pedestrian deaths increased by 35.4 percent. In that same span, over 49,340 thousand people were struck and killed. A startling number from that report was that 13 people per day or one person every hour and 46 minutes would die. That is a lot of carnage on the streets in the United States.

I know for a fact that I would never want to be part of that statistic. As a Deaf man I am not able to hear a car speeding towards me or someone shouting for me to get out of the way. I do not care if I am waiting until the end of time for the light to finally turn to walk. I value my life to not allow the little voice in my head called Impatience to nudge me to cross.

If you are on your way to class and find yourself becoming late due to the crosswalk’s wait time then you better find a way to manage your time. You can not control how fast someone is going or if they are distracted by a meme on their smartphones but you can control what you do. You can control the misguided assumptions of roads being safe or the inexplicable urge to cross willy-nilly due to impatience. You can control your actions, your fate is within your own hands.

I know I sound like an old man shaking his fists at the youths who cross the streets of Southern. I have had my fair share of eyerolls and quizzical expressions aimed at me, expressions that clearly inquire as to why I was not following them across street. I am not a duckling following a misguided mother duck as a screaming metal death trap zooms forward with deadly intent.

That was over-dramatic, but the potential of being seriously injured or killed is not over-dramatic, as those previous statistics paint a frightening image.

Just wait until the light flashes to walk. Just manage your time better. Life is too short to waste it due to impatience or by throwing caution through the wind. Just wait to cross.

Photo Credit: August Pelliccio

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