Morning strikes once again, and as the saying goes, “another day, another dollar.” But for most students, it would be another assignment rather than another dollar. It is now time again to commute to everyone’s favorite place, College of the Canyons.
One of the main roads used by students to get to school is the Old Road.
The Old Road is a two-lane highway and connects the San Fernando Valley to Santa Clarita Valley. It goes all the way past Magic Mountain and Castaic.
The Old Road, for the most part, is never too busy and is clear of traffic most of the way. It is actually quite a scenic drive due to its emptiness. It is just you, the road, the mountains and the open skies.
Starting a morning off with the sun shining bright and the music blasting on a smooth, clear drive can be a great and relaxing way to start off a school day.
It is also a better alternative for students who want to avoid the chaos and traffic from the freeways, such as the 5.
“The 5 is always full of big trucks and it is really intimidating,” says College of the Canyons freshman Sonia Afshari. “I find it easier to just use the Old Road, since I’m coming from Northridge.”
“I like that the Old Road is almost always empty and that I can get to class pretty fast,” her friend Emily Petrossian- also a COC student- chimed in.
However, these qualities that the students love about the Old Road can also make it quite dangerous.
Accidents can easily occur here, and can block up traffic more since it is only a two-lane highway.
Speeding is more likely to occur on empty roads since there are no other cars, or possible police presence, likely around…or so one may think.
“I have seen quite a few accidents on my way to school,” said COC alumni Michelle Quassem. “I always felt that the road was a bit dangerous.”
But is the Old Road really more dangerous than any other freeway or street?
Josh Greengard, the Public Information Officer for the California Highway Patrol has all the answers.
“When there is more traffic, accidents can happen on smaller roadways due to a lot of speeding,” said Greengard.
This confirms why accidents would occur on the Old Road, as it is a smaller roadway. Greengard went on to say that most of the accidents that do take place on the Old Road go on in the intersection bypassing the freeway.
“Many people are in a hurry and do not take the time to pay attention,” said the CHP officer. “Give yourself enough time to drive to your destination to avoid taking shortcuts and stressing while driving to avoid potential situations like these.”
Surprisingly, he revealed that many of these accidents do not even fall under jurisdiction for the Santa Clarita Valley. About half of these accidents technically happen in the Los Angeles city limit, so they would fall under the jurisdiction for the Los Angeles Police Department.
So naturally, LAPD only takes care of accidents that happen in their city limits, as with Santa Clarita.
Greengard shared that there were about ten car accidents on the Old Road during April 15 to May 15.
Two of these accidents occurred on Pico and the Old Road, and another two took place on Rye Canyon and the Old Road.
Another took place on the Old Road and Sage Crest, with the other ones occurring on the Old Road and Valencia, and the Old Road and Biscailuv.
A few accidents also occurred in the adjacent parking lots by the Old Road, though no accidents took place in the intersection bypassing the freeway this past month.
Ten accidents in the span of a month just on one roadway seems like quite a lot and could be a cause for concern for the average civilian.
Greengard combats that notion and said that the Old Road is actually “pretty safe.”
“Newhall alone has about 300 crashes a month,” said the highway patrol officer. “The stats for the crashes in all of California from last year come to about 253,000.”
Distracted driving is the number one cause of accidents. Most drivers are distracted whether it is by texting or calling someone on their phone, changing the radio station, or even applying makeup while driving.
“Paying attention is the most important thing. It is your responsibility to drive safely,” Greengard said, and this bit of advice can apply to drivers everywhere.
Students should not be afraid to take the Old Road, since it is safe, or to be scared of driving at all.
Mornings can especially be stressful because people are rushing to work or class, but remaining calm and properly managing one’s time is key.
So do take the time and enjoy that clear road on the way to school if that is your preference, but make sure to pay attention the whole time. Please do not skip out on the proper rules and precautions just because it is more on the empty side.
Driving is always a responsibility and a privilege, and can be taken away at a moment’s notice
Commuting does not always have to be a stressful or unsafe experience if everyone takes the proper precautions.