Speed bumps:harmful or helpful?

Let me confess that, as a driver on the mean streets of Tallahassee, I have a habit of driving briskly from one place to another. I just cannot seem to get my car to slow down to a crawl of 25 mph when I need to be in two places at once, five minutes ago. In my daily travels I am constantly confronted by an assortment of messages that urge me to slow down-some more than others. My least favorite of all are the speed bumps that are on every part of campus that a car has access to.

These massive speed bumps that encumber the route to class of every student only cause damage. The result in coming into contact with them is often the screeching of breaks just before the car goes airborne like a miniature roller coaster ride. After the inevitable crash landing, the gas pedal goes right back down to the floorboard. Then the vicious cycle must repeat itself as the next bump comes five seconds later. The first hint to slow down was enough without the reminder of the six that follow so close together.

If the goal behind this blunt approach to the speeding problem is to slow down cars, it really does not seem to be up to par. A well-intended idea has become a hindrance.

Instead of getting to work, class and meetings students must navigate through an obstacle course of speed bumps first. I also cannot help but wonder how they affect the progress of ambulances and other EMT vehicles.

Every student has witnessed or performed the quick break and then burst of speed over the speed bump or the popular try to drive around the speed bump so only one side of the car has to slow down.

While the traffic gurus find a better way to actually manage speed, there are ways to improve your mobile quality of life and save your breaks. Then you will not be forced to visit a mechanic for break pads them like me.

First of all, leave five to ten minutes early and put in time for traffic or another traffic impediment that might occur. So, in case this does occur you are still on time and your breaks will not end up like mine.

Secondly, use speed dial on your cell phone to access frequently dialed numbers safely, and try to use a hand-free device at all times. Driving is already dangerous enough. Let’s not add the to the danger by trying to dialing ten numbers, balancing a phone between the ear and the shoulders, then finding a song on the radio.

Next, keep essentials such as CDs or napkins in an easy to reach place. If you have to stretch and lean across to the passenger side or the back seat just to hear it, let it go. Your life is more important.

Finally, keep the interior of the car clean and get rid of trash and shake out floor mats and then the road rage will leave with them.

Just be safe and try to keep the car at somewhere near the speed limit, because speed bumps will never succeed in slowing cars down, well at least not mine.

Shari Loftley is a third-year broadcast journalism student from Atlanta. She can be reached at Shardeloft@aol.com.