Thursday, March 4, 2010

Green to red

In July of 2008, the mother of a motorcyclist who was killed by a negligent driver in an SUV successfully lobbied to get a traffic light installed at the left exit of Rt. 29 to I-70. Personally, I liked the left exit before the light was installed, but I have found this new traffic light to be so inconvenient that I have been using the right exit from Rt. 29 to I-70 when I travel in that area.

Regardless, a 92 year old woman was recently killed at that same intersection, this time with the traffic light installed. The driver on Rt. 29 failed to stop for a red light and hit a car crossing Rt. 29 to I-70 with a green light. It seems pretty likely that this was a case when people were watching the traffic lights rather than traffic. I know I'm making a contrary to fact hypothesis here (which is dangerous business) but it seems highly probable to me that this accident would not have occurred if the yield sign was in place rather than the new traffic light.

It would not surprise me if studies show that traffic lights are more dangerous than stop signs or yield signs in certain situations because the latter two devices require to people to rely on their judgement rather than waiting for the light to turn green so they can floor it. This is one of those contrarian ideas that is probably supported by evidence.

Interestingly, a common element between both of these accidents is that the drivers at fault were both over 70 years old.


Anonymous said...

I see your point, but still, black and yellow yeild signs and/or flashing lights are distracting as well. How can we get people to slow down in these dangerous areas?

Anonymous said...

I don't take that left turn across 29 unless there are no cars coming from the north on 29. I stay right and wind around the ramp to 70 westbound.

Eludius said...

The left turn lane is useless now. I heard that they were thinking about putting a sky ramp from NB Rte 29 to WB I-70. I'm sure the people of Howard County want that.

Anonymous said...

I'm confused. I looked this up on google maps and isn't the left turn completely redundant? I'm assuming it just just left over from before the right-side ramp was built. Why does it even still exist?