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Parking lot etiquette is a concern for OHS students


Some OHS students are concerned about parking lot etiquette amid several crashes and many near-collisions that have occurred in the parking lot surrounding the school.

 “I feel like the Milburn people get annoyed because they’re in a big hurry and they don’t care about safety,” parking lot safety and security coordinator Ellen Auer said. “However, the students get it and they all work together and are very courteous to each other.”

The arrival and exit routines for student drivers are not explicitly outlined, which can be the cause of student confusion in the beginning of the school year.

“[It] usually takes a week or two before everybody figures it out. At the beginning of the school year after a couple of announcements are read, they figure out how to exit the parking lot, they look at me, they look at my hand signals and they pay attention,” Auer said.

At the end of each school day, Auer directs two lanes of outgoing traffic to Milburn Rd. using only her hand signals and the occasional strongly-mouthed word.

“We have a few kids that criss-cross at the exit that almost cause things to happen, but relatively, everything’s pretty smooth,” Auer said.

Auer only oversees student departures at the east exit, while the south exit is unattended and students are left to their own devices in terms of how they exit the campus.

 “[Drivers] don’t wait their turn, everyone’s trying to rush out of there and I feel like it’s a very dangerous place and that you can easily get into an accident,” Ellie Dong (11) said.

There have been less than five reported car accidents in the school parking lot this year. However, some accidents do go unreported, so there is no way to accurately count how many collisions have occurred.

 “I was in my car, I was listening to music, looking at the front, and all of a sudden, my car started moving. It was like I was playing bumper cars,” Britney Du (11) said.

Du was exiting the campus when her car was rear-ended, causing a chain reaction within the tightly-packed line of vehicles, resulting in four cars being damaged.

 “I remember the girl in front of me came out and was screaming at me and was like, ‘Why’d you do that?’ and all of that, and I realized the person behind me was Tammy (my cousin),” Du said. “And then I realized I’m not going to have a car for a month.”

Du’s car was totaled, an estimated $20,000 dollars in damage, and she was forced to get a ride to school every morning for over a month.

“I was moving up closer and instead of braking, I accidentally pressed on the gas pedal…I just spaced out and pressed the wrong pedal,” Tammy Du (12) said. “People in front of Britney were more concerned about their car than taking it out on me, and I just felt bad for Britney.”

Tammy was grateful that she did not hit a stranger, and instead, her cousin. She believes an angry confrontation with someone else would have caused her much more panic and stress.

“…I’m not going to blame her for that because we all make mistakes, but it’s such an inconvenience,” Britney said.

Many students recognize their peer’s mistakes as just that, but also advise safe and polite driving practices that benefit everyone.

“Just slow down,” Dong said. “Wait your turn. You’re going to leave eventually. You’re not going to be stuck here.”