OPINION | Colorado Springs is ‘driving’ me crazy

     After the past two years under pandemic precautions and other recent world stressors, everyone in Colorado Springs and UCCS needs to put the “car” back in “careful.” According to PEW, violent road rage incidents involving weapons, belligerent drivers and overall bad driving has been on the rise since the beginning of the pandemic.  

     As a student who commutes to campus five days a week, being on the road in Colorado Springs is not one of the things I look forward to every morning. Lately, it seems people are driving more impatiently, aggressively and dangerously on my commute. Even when I finally arrive at UCCS, the poor driving technique continues in the parking lots around campus.  

Parking lot located outside the University Center and Centennial Hall. Photo by Taylor Villalpando.  

     Along my commute both to and from school, I have at least one person either drive recklessly around me or someone near me. Just last Monday, I was unable to turn before the light turned red. However, as I was sitting there and as the light turned yellow, a person behind me began to honk his horn and jam his car closer to my bumper. “Dude! There’s no way for me to turn!” is all I could think.  

      When the light eventually turned green, I put the pedal to the metal just to get away from the other driver. My stories and ones that are much worse happen far too often now. When you act aggressively towards another driver that is obeying all traffic laws, it simply makes the other person angry. I am not a reckless driver, but when confronted with someone like the man behind me at the light, something takes over, and I feel the need to speed away. This possibly endangers myself and others around me. Seriously, Colorado Springs, calm down when you get out on the road. We all have somewhere to be.  

      The UCCS entrance used to be a chance for me to catch my breath after being on the road, but the parking is not any better. It is rare to see a parking lot with all the cars aligned in each space. Cattywampus, cockeyed and topsy-turvy are just some of the words I can use to describe the UCCS parking lots.  

     Lately, I have been reviewing my options surrounding driving to campus because it is insanely stressful to get behind the wheel, especially if you have a car that you want to preserve. As someone who takes pride in careful car maintenance, it is frustrating when someone decides to damage your car by being a reckless driver.  

     Last December, when Colorado Springs was hit with high winds, I came out to my car to find a door dent that ran all the way down the middle of the passenger side door. This would have been moderately unnoticeable if the other vehicle hadn’t left white paint behind … my car is black. Over the winter break, I spent over 200 dollars to repair the dent when the other driver could have been more courteous when getting in and out of their car. 

     It is understandable why aggressive driving is on the rise here in Colorado Springs with all the stressors of the pandemic and rising gas prices but put yourself in the other driver’s shoes. Be courteous, be kind and give people the space they need to feel comfortable and safe on the road and in parking lots. Hang in there, UCCS.