Under the heat of the winter sun, freshman criminal justice major Zayann Lozano describes scenes from the road that he witnessed in these past few weeks of rain.

“When I was taking the 110, I saw a lot of crashes and people still sped up,” Lozano says. “They’ll even pass a police officer while speeding.”

The type of reckless behavior Lozano describes is nothing new for anybody who has been on the road for a long time, especially in California. 

Specifically, LA County ranked second of the 58 counties in the state for total fatal and injury crashes with 65,377 victims total in 2020, according to the California Office of Traffic Safety.

Yet new driver, sophomore elementary teacher education major Tammy Duong, describes her conflicting emotions of annoyance and empathy for those who display this kind of behavior.

“Sometimes I’ll turn right and then they’ll beep at me,” Duong says. “I’ll look back and they’ll be like ‘Come on!’. I’m just like ‘Forgive them’. Maybe they’re in a rush or maybe they have to go use a restroom really bad or rush home.”

While Duong displays her empathy for other drivers, sophomore radiology major Gaibeth Villegas describes her own experiences as a victim of other drivers’ actions.

“I’ve been in 2 accidents,” Villegas begins. “Both times, I was going to cross a light and the car on the other side decided to make a left turn in front of me, so ended up hitting them, but they were at fault. The first time, it was actually a little old man who wanted to get into the freeway, which was on the other side, but it was basically a big intersection, so he had to go all the way around to do that.”

Villegas continues, “Then, the second time, I was in the guy’s blind spot because there was another guy that was in the left lane in front of me and I was in the right lane behind him. As soon as he crossed the green light, the guy went right in between us.”

Villegas also emphasizes another angle to the struggle of these accidents—insurance.

“The insurance was kind of complicated because my parents are Mexican and they were dealing with English-speaking people,” Villegas says. “I don’t really know about insurance so we had to get a lawyer. The lawyer actually helped a lot, but I know that we would have had a really complicated process doing that alone.”

As a civil engineering major, sophomore Elin Lowe hears stories like Villegas’ and dreams up what solutions may alleviate similar frustrations that happen on the road for the future and the difficulties implementing them.

“The design of roads typically could be changed to improve traffic,” Lowe says. “More specifically, having an 18-wheeler lane would help a lot, but also implementing that into the whole flow of traffic would be really hard.”

PCC students will continue to deal with these frustrations as they return to in-person classes and drive to and from PCC for the rest of the already-started spring semester.

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