Roundabout will throw students for a loop

Call it fear, call it hesitation, call it first-hand experience, but I, for one, am not keen on the roundabout.

Not to speak low of my fellow peers, but teenage drivers are notorious for being, well, inexperienced. The parking lot of Douglas High School is rather frightening at lunch and after school, and obviously the chaos at the intersection is getting worse by the year. However, I think a roundabout will only make things worse.

I know that the high school students are not the only community members that will use the roundabout, although I do think that for nine months out of the year, that intersection is filled predominately with students during certain times of the day. Credit is due to responsible student drivers, but there is undoubtedly a percentage of the student body that can be quite reckless.

Driving in a roundabout is not taught in driver's ed - although perhaps now, it will be. Even so, many teenagers do not take driver's ed, and many new drivers would have to learn how to maneuver it by themselves. I'll be the first one to admit that I made the silly mistake of driving full circle the first time I came across one, even with my mother in the passenger seat. Although they don't require much to figure out, the community is not used to them, adults as well as teenagers, considering the closest one is in Carson City. A roundabout may only increase the confusion and traffic build up, especially in bad weather and during busy hours during the school day.

The argument is that the intersection does not qualify for a light. In order for it to qualify, a certain number of significant accidents have to occur.

Call me selfish, but I do not think car accidents should have to take place in order to make a decision, especially when an accident would more than likely involve a high school student. I drive that intersection every day, and it is crazy. We have many lights at intersections throughout the Valley that people are used to. Sure, accidents happen at lights, but accidents can happen anywhere.

I'm surprised that a representative has not been sent to DHS to present this to the students.

This was brought up at the Minden Town Board meeting on last week, and me and my peers were reassured that this would be addressed. I hope so, because whenever I hear mention of it in the hallways, it is usually followed by, "What the heck is a roundabout?" This lack of awareness is sure to result in careless, but hopefully not harmful, mistakes.

If a roundabout is installed right before the new school year, DHS students will not have enough time to experience it, and I can just imagine the chaos that will cause. If the community is really going through with this, the high school students need to be educated as soon as possible.

n Ashley Noel Hennefer is an intern for The Record-Courier and a senior at Douglas High School.


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