Before my daughter inherited my husband’s car, my husband or I would drive her to high school and drop her off. We hated doing it. The people who designed Herriman High School’s parking lot and loading zones are people who share the same ideology of those who came up with medieval torture devices.
A terrifying aspect of dropping Lorrin off was that we would have to turn left. We would have to turn left on a two-lane road that fifteen minutes before school started and fifteen minutes after it ended would swell like an angry river. To understand why it was harrowing, one must know the makeup of the loading zones.
At the front of Herriman High School is a one-way loading zone that starts on the main road and travels in a crescent shape moving east, then north, and ending up west. The cars are spit back onto the main road and have to turn right into a torrent of traffic.
A second loading zone follows a path running along the side of the school where the student parking lot is also located. Those who drop kids off on the side must use the same main road and try to turn left at the same time the front-of-school drop-offers, as well as students needing to get to their parking lot, are trying to turn right. Chaos!
My experience in turning left comprised of flinging my automobile into oncoming traffic; white-knuckling the steering wheel, eyes squeezed shut and breath held. I’d jam on the accelerator and hoped to make it through unscathed. When driving Lorrin, I don’t recall a single fender-bender. However, I do remember honking horns, cussing, and middle fingers flipping left and right.
Once my daughter got a car, relief spread through the family, at least between her father and I—we no longer had to navigate the maze of irrationality! We didn’t have to play dodge-car anymore!
That was a few years ago, and now we are back to driving my son to Herriman High School and dropping him off. I noticed right away a difference in the experience. There was a calmness that settled over the situation. No, the parking lot and loading zones haven’t been changed to make sense. No, the traffic hasn’t been reduced, in fact, I’m sure it has doubled or tripled. The most significant difference is the drivers.
Every morning as I sit in the suicide lane, I’m surprised at the level of manners demonstrated by teenaged drivers. Traffic turning right off the main road to get to student parking will go into the never-used bike lane and then, one by one, every other car, will let someone turning left go in front of them. They take turns!
It’s evident that a great shift has happened in my morning routine and it has affected everyone else as well. The drop off zone is now a smooth experience. No more screaming obscenities at the driver in front of you—that guy you know is just trying to pick at your last nerve on purpose. No more breaking out in a sweat knowing that any minute an oversized SUV will pummel into the side of your vehicle. This is made possible all because some teenager had the state of mind to let someone butt in line.
Teenagers get a bad rap, a lot. They’re accused of being mobile device-deviants and gadget-junkies with zero attention span and yet, the only people who seem to aggressively cut the line, almost plowing into all surrounding cars, are adults talking on their cell phones. It’s not the kids. They are organized. They are patient. They are courteous. They make the morning commute tolerable. They are the ones who make me want to be a better person—at least behind the wheel.
So thanks to that over-classified generation (aka Gen Z’s, iGeneration, Founders, Plurals, etc.) following the Millennials! You guys might be the key to salvation after all—at least between 7:10-7:25 am and again at 2:10-2:25 pm. Your efforts are noticed and well appreciated!