Ryan Chartrand

It is an undeniable truth. Speeding kills. In the wake of the recent Cal Poly student reportedly speeding and losing control of his vehicle, killing himself and three others, I can’t help but recall many of my “close encounters” with high-risk speeders.

During regular quarters, for four days a week, I drive to Cal Poly on the stretch of Highway 1 from Morro Bay to San Luis Obispo and back, which I like to refer to as “The Gauntlet.”

For some reason, during the time when Cuesta College is in full session, I find myself in the hands of a seemingly aggressive and unforgiving speeder more often. This is the most common scenario I encounter: As I look in my rear-view mirror to get a glimpse of this annoying person who is tailgating me – and urging me to give him the finger, I see a Cuesta College parking permit hanging on his mirror. When he finally passes me, he takes off, weaving in and out of both lanes, cutting people off, disregarding the safety of himself and many others sharing the road.

Later down the road, we usually end up at the same stoplight. Then I think, ‘What was all that effort for on his part?’ We both ended up at the same spot. So what if they are going to be late for class? If they are already late, speeding there won’t make them be on time! Is being in class on time more important than the safety of others and even themselves?

I’m not at all against Cuesta students – hey, I used to be one – and I’m not suggesting that all reckless drivers on Highway 1 are Cuesta students, but it’s funny that about 90 percent of the time when I’m driving through “The Gauntlet” during Cuesta’s fall and spring semesters and I see someone tailgating and zipping past everybody, I also see that Cuesta College parking permit swinging from the mirror.

I admit that I don’t exactly drive the speed limit – who does? And I did have my selfish and careless driving days, thinking that I was invincible, rushing to school and work because of my poor time management.

But I learned to take it easy and just go with the flow of traffic. Hearing all this news about people getting killed in car accidents is unnerving, especially when it hits close to home.

Now, I don’t know exactly how many people have actually died on Highway 1 due to reckless speeding, but speeding is unnecessary and people should not take their chances. Like the saying goes, “It’s better to be safe than sorry!”

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