Redesigning Intersections To Make Them Safer


September 21, 2017

Georgia Wrongful Death Car Accident Attorneys Discuss Redesigning Intersections To Make Them Safer

The intersection of Antioch Road and Goza Road in southeastern Fayette County is a concern for residents. The intersection, which was recently redesigned, has been the source of many serious car crashes. The residents blame the new configuration of the intersection which has caused increased traffic flow, decreased visibility, and confusing signage. Unfortunately, the death of an 82-year-old woman at the intersection was the catalyst the County Commissioners and locals needed to begin discussing what local authorities can do to prevent further tragedies In that area. 

On May 11, 2017, two women in their eighties were crossing the Antioch Road while on Goza Road, according to Atlanta Journal Constitution. They report that the driver stopped at the Goza Road stop sign appropriately and then attempted crossing Antioch Road while assuming she had the right of way. Perhaps she made a mistake that is easily and commonly made at that intersection. Many people erroneously believe that the intersection is a four-way stop. It is not. Sadly, the two women, after stopping at the stop sign and proceeding into the intersection, were struck by a pickup truck traveling on Antioch.

The crash was devastating. First responders needed the Jaws Of Life to extricate the two women from the wreck. Both women were airlifted from the scene to the nearest trauma center. Unfortunately, one of them tragically died the following day.

The intersection recently experienced a design change, which has the streets intersecting at right angles to each other. Before the redesign, the approaches took more of a "dogleg" approach. The redesign was supposed to be safer for people and ease traffic flow. Many people who use the intersection regularly reported to the local authorities that there had been more problems since the redesign than before. In fact, the number of accidents at the intersection to this point in 2017 has already outpaced the number of accidents from 2016.

Local residents shared additional complaints at a recent meeting with the County Commissioners. Those who spoke said that there are more incidents because of speeding, the erroneous assumption that the intersection is a four-way stop, higher traffic volumes, and an obstructed view because of the hill on Antioch Road. Those roads are busy to be sure, as they service a local school district.

The County Commissioners resolved to take action. First, they decided to make the intersection a four-way stop. That improvement should increase motorist safety at the location.  The County Commissioners vowed to study other ways to improve the dangerous intersection, which could include the installation of a roundabout to control traffic.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has issued an advisory about redesigning intersections, which advises using FHWA's redesign when intersections with signals are unsafe because of lack of visibility on the approach. While there are no signals yet at the intersection of Antioch and Goza Road, installing some could be a worthwhile idea. Furthermore, the FHWA contemplates that roads should be redesigned when there are no other cost-effective methods to increase safety. The FWHA advises making changes to the minor road, so the roads intersect at different angles, making it easier for a motorist to see. Additionally, moving the minor road so the intersection does not make 90-degree angles at every corner increases safety. The FWHA recognizes that the proposal is expensive but can also be effective at saving lives and reducing injuries.

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Sources: 

http://www.ajc.com/news/local/issue-how-should-fayette-county-reduce-intersection-dangers/S2CEidIp2Y08CC2UjwQ9SM/

https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/intersection/other_topics/fhwasa08008/sc2_intersection_approaches.pdf

Category: Auto Accidents

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