Safeguard needed at intersection
A wreck at State Hwy. 361 and Mustang Boulevard Sunday brings up the need for added safety at that intersection.
The highway department has a set of criteria, called warrants, that must be met in order for a traffic signal to be installed. The last item called for is "A collision diagram showing crash experience by type, location, direction of movement, severity, weather, time of day, date, and day of week for at least 1 year."
Our hope is that it won't take a fatality on State Hwy. 361 and Mustang Boulevard before a safety feature in addition to the existing stop sign is installed.
It's nothing short of a miracle that more accidents have not occurred in that location. Two major accidents, neither of which involved serious injury to drivers or passengers, have occurred in the past year and a half. They both involved drivers making a left turn onto the highway while a southbound vehicle was driving on the shoulder signaling a right turn. In both cases, another vehicle was following the one signaling a turn, and in both cases the second vehicle became one with the vehicle exiting Mustang Boulevard.
The scenario, less vehicles making contact, plays out every day at that intersection.
Drivers exiting Mustang Boulevard must be cautioned not to pull onto the highway when a southbound vehicle signals intent to turn onto Mustang Boulevard. Larger vehicles can easily conceal smaller vehicles behind them, especially if the smaller vehicle is tailgating the turning vehicle.
Too many people have described near misses under these circumstances, but once they've been in the situation, they tend to be more patient and wait until the southbound vehicle makes its turn and the coast is, in fact, clear.
The situation is made more dangerous by the fact that teenagers and drivers slowed by the passing of time are often the ones waiting to turn onto the highway. Younger drivers' impatience may cause them to act impulsively. Older drivers may not be able to respond quickly enough in an emergency.
Some drivers have been seen turning onto the highway by passing the vehicle waiting at the stop sign on Mustang Boulevard to make his or her turn.
Among warrants considered by the highway department when determining whether a traffic signal is needed are four and eight-hour vehicular volume counts, a peak hour count, pedestrian volume, whether the intersection is a school crossing and crash experience.
This intersection is not a school crossing and has little pedestrian traffic, but the potential for a fatal accident is there every day.
We urge the highway department to take proactive initiative to avoid a fatality rather than take reactive measures after a fatality. That would be too late for at least one family, and that would be one family too many.