Viewpoint: Speed bumps hard to see, can do damage at night

By Rae Jefferson

I hate late-night studying. I also hate late-night driving. So naturally, there’s nothing more horrendous than having to drive home from Moody during the wee hours of the morning after a long, brain-frying study session.

But to make matters worse, I have to drive down Third Street to get back to my apartment. Why is this so terrible? Speed bumps. And not just any speed bumps. They’re the kind of speed bumps that make you question the integrity of your car if you happen to go over them even slightly faster than a crawl. The skinny speed bumps of Third Street are the things my auto mechanic’s nightmares are made of.

It wasn’t until this semester that I realized the disdain I have for on-campus speed bumps.
I remember the slight annoyance and amusement I felt last school year when speed bumps were installed down Third Street between the Russell Residence Halls and Truett Seminary. I was annoyed because my travel was suddenly impeded — for good reason, but it was still an inconvenience. But I was mostly amused. Whoever laid the speed bumps down failed to make sure they extended across the entire length of the road into the bike lane. This meant I was still free to drive around the ends of the bumps into the bike lane — empty of bicyclists, of course — and continue on my way without having to slow down.

I do not fancy myself a speed demon. I have no need for barreling down Third Street in a four-wheeled fury, which means I wasn’t too bummed to see the Russell-Truett speed bumps finally extended across the full length of the road last semester. At the same time, I don’t enjoy being forced into a crawl when I have places to be, especially after midnight.

Ideally, I should just suck it up and slow down. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple because I never see them coming. I do not drive down Third Street at three in the morning enough times in a month to remember that the axle-breakers lying across the road are still there. For some reason, my headlights never seem to register my impending doom until it’s too late, and the placement of street lamps down Third Street just so happens to be arranged in such a way that the limited lighting manages to shine on every inch of the street except for the long, skinny speed bumps that make me fear for my vehicle’s well being. Every time I go down that street in the dark, I’m greeted with the unpleasant tension of either unintentionally barreling over them or frantically braking to soften the blow. Either way, I’m almost certain my wheels are going to fall off one of these days.

I promise I’m not an overly negative person. I don’t generally sit around thinking of things that are wrong with campus. Speed bumps are essential to pedestrian safety on Third Street — I’m not at all suggesting they are an unnecessary hindrance. I like Baylor students and prefer to not run over any of them with my car. Likewise, I prefer to not be run over by anyone else as I scurry to and from class. But something needs to be done. I would be perfectly satisfied with getting a few reflectors installed along the length of all the speed bumps down Third Street. Can I just get a little light to make the already groggy and turbulent nights of paper writing and information processing a little less bumpy?

Rae Jefferson is a sophomore journalism major from Houston. She is a reporter for The Lariat.