Archive for Friday, August 4, 2006

Driving attention

August 4, 2006


To the editor:

Thursday's article "Baldwin Junction death prompts call for safer highways" stated that the Kansas Highway Patrol said that Ms. Pohl "did not completely stop at the stop sign."

Now let it be known right up front, I'm very sorry Ms. Pohl was even involved in an accident, let alone one that took her life, but I've said it before - and received some very nasty comments - but I'll say it again. The highways around here aren't unsafe; it's the drivers that are! Cell phones, food, drink, not paying attention (for whatever reason).

Get real, people. Stop blaming the highway engineers for your mistakes and start driving again.

John Hamm,



prioress 11 years, 10 months ago

Good point; highways don't kill people, bad or inattentive drivers kill people.

mom_of_three 11 years, 10 months ago

The picture in yesterday's LJW had lots of signs in the background and I could barely see the car which was coming down the road. Could have been the angle, is possible her view was not clear.

very sorry for the Pohl's family loss.

conservative 11 years, 10 months ago

Mom, I've been through that intersection many times, and if you stop where you are supposed to and look at the traffic you won't have problems. Certainly not saying it's a great situation, and I do think that the 4 way stop is waaaaaay overdue.

Speakout 11 years, 10 months ago

I have been on that stretch too and when you stop at the stop sign and look left, there is a slight hill and motorists coming over the hill at excessive speeds can catch up to you really fast. Many times, it has appeared to be clear and once I pull on the 59 going North, a car is behind me immediately and has to slow down or rear-end me. This is BAD. WE do need a stop sign or a traffic light there.

reginafliangie 11 years, 10 months ago

I definity think something needs to be done. But if these drivers are ingnoring an already placed stop sign, why would they stop at a stop light or a 4 way intersection? They obviously feel that it's everyone elses job to obey the traffic laws as they drive as they please. I am all for getting this problem fixed. Way too many accidents. What about a arm that lowers and will raise when it's your turn? I know thats silly, but what else can we do to get drivers to obey the law?

mztrendy 11 years, 10 months ago

Can we give this little old lady a break? She was 84. I'm sure she didn't drive like a bat out of hell down 59 in a hurry. She made a mistake and unfortunately lost her life because of it.

reginafliangie 11 years, 10 months ago

She was driving on Highway 56, not 59. I am not bashing her. I am just saying, come to a complete stop (everybody). Look both ways and don't assume you can pull out in front of a car thats even a few hundred yards away and make it. It takes alot longer to get your car up to the speed they are traveling before they are on top of you. It's common sense really. Happens in the city as well as on the Highways. Only difference is, most people in the city aren't doing 55, 60, 70, and can usually stop if somebody ran a sign or pulled out in front of them. Doing it on a major highway and in front of a semi at that takes guts. The kind I don't have.

mom_of_three 11 years, 10 months ago

I wondered about the picture, because I don't drive that intersection very often. But perhaps the picture shows a cause of accidents - not pulling out far enough to see past the signs.

I am surprised there aren't more accidents on Haskell Street, between 23rd and 31st. Cars traveling North and South don't stop until 23rd or 31st, and people on the side streets pull out in front of others all the time.
It's hard to judge how fast someone will get to you, even when they are only going 40.
On Haskell, it is caused by impatience.

reginafliangie 11 years, 10 months ago

Mom of 3, I hate that stretch as well. Nobody stops at the southbound stop sign. It's more like slow and go. I guess they assume they are turning right (most of the time) that they don't need to do much than slow down. I have witnessed several cars just keep going without so much as stopping, like it's a green light or something. People are just as bad at the 4 way stop at 31st and Louisiana.

badger 11 years, 10 months ago

reginaflangie -

KDOT can't do anything to prevent drivers from being inattentive. They can recognize that a certain intersection is confusing or that inattention is more likely to cause a serious accident, and take steps to mitigate that.

The four-way stop wouldn't stop people from rolling through that stop sign just like they do now. It would, however, mean that the oncoming traffic would be moving at a much slower pace and would have more time to stop. It's more likely to prevent fatal accidents or serious injury.

Sure, KDOT and the fine people of Kansas could just say, "Well, people should pay attention, it's their own fault they got hit," but they could also say, "We could spend a fairly minimal amount of money in the scheme of things, and seriously reduce the likelihood of fatality accidents at that intersection." I know which one I'd choose.

I mean, honestly, when it comes down to it, why should there ever be a four-way stop anywhere? Why should there be stop signs or speed limits or traffic lights or left turn signals? People should just drive attentively with common sense and courtesy, right? But they don't, so people like the good folks at KDOT make up rules and put up signs which are not designed to make bad drivers better, but rather to corral everyone into circumstances where the damage a bad or inattentive driver can do is mitigated and the flow of traffic is as smooth as can be.

Sometimes they do very well at that and it's not noticed. There are huge swaths of road out there where lights and signage work just fine, lane merges are clearly delineated, and the right-of-way is easy to understand and obey, but the people driving across them rarely say to themselves, "What a good decision it was to put a four-way stop here!" or "Hey, the way the exit is set up really minimizes the need for fast last-minute lane changes!" Sometimes they don't do as well, and we have badly timed lights, poorly laid out roads, and confusing intersections. Because they increase accidents, fatalities, delays, and frustration, the times they don't get it right stand out.

riverdrifter 11 years, 10 months ago

The four-way stop is in at the junction. KDOT swarmed the place this afternoon and put them in. Somewhere, probably far up the foodchain, somebody kicked butt.

blessed3x 11 years, 10 months ago

Wonderful. Now that the 4-way is in, get ready for even more accidents. Mark my words.

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