I am furious. St. John’s University is not the Daytona 500. It’s one thing when you are driving on a highway and get cut off, but it is a completely different story when you are on the pedestrian walkway and a car comes within inches of hitting you. We’ve all had our experiences with bad drivers, but the worst of them seem to have flocked to the Queens Campus of St. John’s University.
Could it be that the music that they blast at 8 a.m. has some adverse effect on their driving abilities? Perhaps the recent cold weather has forced their common sense into hibernation? Or could it be a simple case of carelessness?
Carelessness is certainly what I witnessed when at 7:35 in the morning last Monday, a car struck a young woman walking on campus. Not only did she have the right of way, but the driver of the car had slowed in acknowledgment of her crossing. But he was still driving too fast, and instead of stopping, he suddenly turned directly into the pedestrian, forcing her to jump aside to avoid being run over. The young woman luckily jumped far enough out of the way only injuring her knee and wrist.
Some people might say that accidents do happen and that as long as she wasn’t severely injured there shouldn’t be too much fuss. However, immediately following the loud thud upon the front of his hood, the man hit the gas and drove away, leaving a traumatized and shaken girl behind.
“I can’t believe he hit me, I was right in front of him,” she said after the incident. “How could he just run into me and then drive away?” Whatever his reasons were for fleeing, the anonymous driver certainly gets my vote for the prestigious “Bad Driver of the Month” Award.
Unfortunately the only things we noticed were the make and model of the car, and considering the range of the campus and the surrounding streets it was nearly impossible to find it.
Public Safety has been trying to curtail problems through the addition of speed bumps and security cameras. However, there is only so much they can do with limited resources and manpower. Without a doubt, this will not be the last time something like this happen.
Everyone who drives on campus poses some threat to pedestrians, but none more than the criminally careless drivers. They could be running late to class, or they could be insecure and feel a need to hose the roads with testosterone. Maybe they are just distracted for no reason in particular. None of these excuses are acceptable for putting people at risk, but they are evident each and every day.
I started out the year afraid to park my car on campus, but now I am afraid to walk on campus. All that the student body can ask for is drivers to stay around the speed limit, especially during class hours when the University is the most occupied. Bad drivers are a certainty, but at low speeds they do far less damage.
There is no need to show off a car’s loud exhaust, or to race from Marillac Terrace to the Law School. There are plenty of places in which to rev engines and pretend to be Vin Diesel, but St. John’s is definitely not one of them.
Meanwhile as we, the pedestrians, wait for this to sink into the heads of every Mario Andretti wannabe out there, I say our best bet is to band together and cross the street in swarms. Our policy will be, “Hey, we walking here!” and we shall follow it as if our lives depended upon it. Actually, after the things that I have witnessed recently, they just might.