Graphic by Michael Belluscio
As younger RHS students begin to acquire their driver’s licenses, they must learn to navigate the treacherous traffic the community is faced with on Baltimore Road while traveling to school in the morning.
Here are five tips for students willing to brave the morning traffic of Baltimore Road to help them make it to school on time.
Before 7:20 A.M. or a Tardy Unexcused Coming Your Way
Whether entering Baltimore Road from Parkvale Road, Norbeck Road, Twinbrook Parkway or Broadwood Drive, students must arrive at an intersection at Baltimore Road by 7:20 a.m., or the traffic will most likely last at least 10 minutes. If students are successful, they should only be on Baltimore Road for about five minutes.
“My neighbor and I, at the start of the year, reached Baltimore Road at 7:10 [a.m.] and arrived at school before 7:20. Now towards the end of the year we have been leaving home at 7:20 and are late to school a lot because of the traffic,” senior Henry Jones said.
Buses are Bros
Many students ride the bus to school, which means buses are also on Baltimore Road and a pain in traffic. New drivers must be especially cautious when behind or passing buses on Baltimore Road as it’s easy to end up behind an additional five buses. The buses have an unspoken code and are all friendly with each other; at stop signs and intersections, a bus will let as many cars through as it needs to get fellow busses on the road as well. This can cause more traffic and waiting behind large buses limits visibility. The key is to be in front of buses before reaching Baltimore Road, which also has to do with arriving before 7:20 a.m.
Still Need to Look Both Ways
Due to sidewalks and nearby woods, Baltimore Road is narrow, so new drivers must be aware of this and always keep their eyes out for pedestrians. With overcrowding due to heavy rush hour traffic, drivers must keep a safe following distance from the car in front of them and their eyes on their mirrors to make sure they don’t hit the car in front of them, get rear-ended or surprise a student coming from the wooded paths.
“The first time I was on Baltimore [Road], I almost hit like four people ‘cause of all the cars. I wasn’t used to all the traffic and it woke me up very quickly,” a junior boy, who requested anonymity, said.
To Stop or Not to Stop
Norbeck Road is the largest road that has a stop light leading to Baltimore Road and it brings many student drivers with it. Coming from the Norbeck side, drivers must know that the cars from the Parkvale Road stop sign will try to creep in and get onto Baltimore Road, but drivers from Norbeck don’t have a stop sign. So unless you feel generous or there is no traffic, keep driving and get to school on time.
Be Cool to Arrive at School
The final tip is go with the flow. Don’t be that person who tries to zoom in between lanes or pass people on Baltimore Road (which is illegal). It only puts multiple drivers at risk for a crash; being late would be the least of a driver’s worries if a collision were to occur. The leading cause of teenage deaths from ages 12–19 is unintentional injury, which accounts for 48 percent of fatalities. Of that 48 percent, 73 percent is due to motor vehicle accidents, according to CDC.Gov.