Driver carelessness cited in most intersection wrecks

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, April 17, 2001

Lack of attention seems to be the number one cause of motorvehicle accidents in Brookhaven, especially at intersections, saidauthorities.

According to the Brookhaven Police Department, drivers oftenfall victim to an accident because of careless driving from otherswho aren’t residents of Lincoln County.

“We do have local people involved in accidents, but the majorityof our accidents are caused by people from out-of-town not stoppingat stop signs,” said Assistant Police Chief Arlustra “Pap”Henderson.

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Although, four-way stops have helped reduce accidents at mostintersections, such as the newly-installed signs at the JacksonStreet and Chippewa Street intersection, they also give a falsesense of security to some drivers.

“Sometimes drivers just assume the other car is going to stop,so they go ahead,” said Lieutenant Joe Portrey.

One of the most dangerous intersections for drivers disregardingtraffic devices is the Minnesota and First Street intersection,which is marked with four stop signs.

Other intersections with high accident totals include Highway51-Highway 550, First Street-Court Street and HamiltonStreet-Monticello Street.

Authorities are conducting a review at the intersection ofChurch and Chickasaw Streets, a two-way stop that has been the siteof a few minor collisions. It is located near an elementary schooland city officials worry about the safety of children.

“I’m working with the aldermen now to see what they want to doabout it,” said Henderson.

He added that many of the accidents at that intersection are theresult of drivers thinking it is a four-way stop and expectingoncoming vehicles to stop.

The two intersections closest to the Church-Chickasawintersection have been four-way stops for years and that may leadto the confusion of drivers, said Henderson.

Drivers also seem to get very confused at the intersection ofHighway 51 and Brookway Boulevard, particularly since theinstallation of a new signal system in the last year.

Portrey pointed out that most drivers are unsure when they canmake left turns, which can sometimes be even more dangerous when adriver’s vision is blocked by vehicles in other lanes.

Another trouble spot at that intersection occurs when driverstry to pull onto Brookway Boulevard from Highway 51 or vice versa,said Portrey.

“We’ve had a lot of rear end crashes on the ramps there,” headded.

Authorities continue to look for ways to reduce accident reportsin the city. They hope enforcing speed limits will slow driversdown, giving them more reaction time.

Another technique used to create safer driving conditions isreplacing regular stop signs with larger ones and placing cautionsigns around intersection to warn drivers ahead of time that a stopis coming up.