One parking lot entrance + hundreds of student drivers = one daily chaotic mess. Any Leesville driver can tell you that entering and exiting the student parking lot is no walk in the park.
Back to back cars slowly follow each other along the narrow roads. The line of cars snakes into Leesville’s student parking lot. It’s 7:15 at Leesville Road High School, and students are piling into the lot designated for student drivers. Flashing headlights and hand gestures signal for distant cars to move, stop, or just get out of the way. The 7:18 bell sounds, sending the line of cars into full panic.
This is Leesville’s morning mania.
“Traffic before school is much more stressful, because you’re in such a rush,” said Lorin Pressley, a junior at Leesville Road High. Many students at Leesville agree that morning traffic, in comparison to lunch and afternoon traffic, is the most stressful to drive in.
Lunchtime is another very busy time at Leesville Road High School. Being “hangry” is no joke, but driving “hangry” is just plain dangerous. The lunch bell has the power to release 2,800 hungry teenagers, hundreds of who will be going off campus for lunch. Once that bell rings, the race begins. Juniors and seniors dart to their cars, hoping to be the first person to get out of the lot. “I try to leave [for lunch] pretty early because I know there is going to be traffic. I have to make sure that I make it back in time for my fourth period,” said Pressley. Everyone wants maximum time for eating their lunch, so it is ideal to enter and exit the lot quickly.
Early morning and lunchtime traffic aren’t the only busy times during the Leesville school day. Every driver at Leesville Road High School knows about the 2:18 rush. Students gather at the doors of their fourth periods, eager to hear the sound that they’ve been waiting for all day– the dismissal bell. All at once, hundreds of cars try to cram through one exit.
“If there was another exit to the parking lot, it would be a lot easier for people to get out,” said Pressley. The lack of other exits cause daily delays and problems for Leesville drivers. Getting stuck behind Leesville’s school buses is not uncommon, nor is it convenient. Exiting the student lot quickly is in every student drivers best interest, allowing them to avoid car clusters and slow moving traffic.
Driving on high school campus is stressful no matter what time of day, so what are some things that student drivers can do to stay safe? Using turn signals, going the speed limit and staying a safe distance behind the car you are following are all basic ways to stay safe in the student lot. With all of the panic and eagerness caused by driving, some students forget that the most important rule is to stay safe while behind the wheel.