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Student Life

Rowdy and Roadie: Students Find Rides For Breaks

by Izzy Cohan, staff writer

Turkey day is around the corner and everyone is solidifying plans. With the dorms open for the short break, many students are choosing the less hectic route and staying on campus. Some claim the quiet will help them finish up their theses while others just don’t have the funds to travel home.

One way to overcome the ridiculous cost of air travel is by carpooling. As a freshman last year I didn’t have a car on campus. I felt stranded and dependent. Without a mode of transport, I searched for other options such as buses, trains and horseback. Because it was mid December I crossed horseback off the list quickly. I didn’t have the necessary outerwear to keep me warm on such an endeavor. In the end a teammate on the Mountain Bike Team offered me a ride and I greatly accepted and paid my share of gas and food money.

My experience with getting a ride home was smooth and easy, but it isn’t always like that. There have been uncomfortable conversations, strange pet situations and more seriously—car crashes.

With long and unusual hours on the road, safety continues to be an issue. Having more drivers is always safer.

“Individuals driving long distances are less likely to fall asleep if there are more occupants in the car and if a driver gets too tired they can share driving responsibilities with another person in the vehicle,” said Jonathan Unger, head of the Auto Shop.

However, having more people in your car does not mean you won’t have to drive the whole way. Senior Ryan Smith has had issues transporting Wilson students during breaks.

“Usually one of the nice things about giving people rides home is that you can share the driving,” Smith said. “However, I once drove four people home and no one else could drive because they didn’t know how to drive a manual.”

With the number of manual drivers out there dwindling, manual car owners must plan ahead of time and train the people we are driving with.

I was motivated to take people home in my car for a few reasons—it’s very cheap transport, getting other people home that can’t afford a plane ticket and making some new friends.

If no one who was riding with me contributed gas money then the price difference between air travel and driving wouldn’t be large enough to justify losing valuable hours that could be spent eating warm pumpkin pie with my family to the 24-hour round trip journey.

Senior Jackson DePew is from St. Louis as is his good friend Mike Flynn. When Flynn asked for a ride DePew agreed, but “required gas money.” If you can get a ride without spending a dime, good for you, but for me I would chose people who could help financially over those who refused in most cases.

When I asked DePew why he agreed to take Flynn he immediately responded with, “companionship (not someone to help drive) but I like driving with Flynn it’s entertaining companionship and it’s better than riding alone, and it’s self fulfilling because I get to bring him home to his family.”

Some Safe Driving Tips from Jonathan Unger

  • If you’re beginning to get tired or it’s late at night don’t use cruise control. It takes away focus that keeps your brain active which is important to staying awake. Inadvertently this is ideal when you are keeping with proper technique
  • Every 30 seconds you should check mirrors and gauges to monitor vehicle speed and be aware of your surroundings
  • Stop every hour to hour and a half to stretch and your move your legs.
  • Don’t overdose on caffeine thinking it will keep you awake. There is a shut down point when your body can’t take any more and you will pass out.

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