Kewaunee County Sheriff: Stop signs can be more dangerous than curves, hills
I always enjoy getting feedback on these articles and am appreciative of any suggestions for future article topics. This week's column is one such request and it focuses on controlled intersections.
As we review the various vehicle accidents over the past few years, we look for areas of our county where there is a greater potential for accidents than others.
In looking over the many road factors, such as curves, hills or even road conditions, one stands out among the rest and that is the existence of a controlled intersection.
A controlled intersection is where one of the roadways has right of way with no stop or yield sign, while the intersecting roadway is controlled by either a stop sign, stop light or yield sign. It is easy to see how this could become a hazardous environment, as the potential exists for one or both of the vehicles to make a maneuver which could place both in harm’s way.
While the vehicle approaching the intersection with the control device has an obligation to stop or yield, it is also incumbent on the vehicle with the right of way to understand its role in a potential accident.
Many times I am asked, “What are the most dangerous intersections?” My response surprises most people.
Many expect that intersections with poor visibility are the greatest risk, which we have found not to be true, and this is why. Those intersections which have poor visibility are approached with a greater level of caution.
On the other hand, the due regard given when approaching those intersections with a good field of view in all directions is often at best complacent. Those traveling with the right of way many times assume that the vehicle at the stop sign sees them, and many times those approaching the intersection with the control aren’t as vigilant.
The question was also asked about who has right of way at a four-way stop when two vehicles arrive at the same time. The answer is that you always yield to the right. This may be confusing because at the growing number of roundabouts, you yield to the vehicle from the left.
A big part of navigating safely, not only when approaching controlled intersections but also driveway approaches, merging lanes or even oncoming traffic, is to always practice good defensive driving habits.
Never assume that the vehicle coming at you in the opposite lane is going to stay in that lane. Don’t assume that the vehicle in a driveway is not going to pull out in front of you.
In the same respect, if you are stopped in your lane attempting to make a left turn, keep your eyes not only on the traffic coming at you from the front, but also those vehicles approaching from behind who may not realize you are stopped in traffic.
Unfortunately, in today’s culture we tend practice more “offensive driving” than defensive driving. Many times our focus is elsewhere, and by the time we realize the reality, it is too late.
Operating a motor vehicle is both an amazing privilege and a massive responsibility. Whether you are a new driver navigating the roads with limited experience or a veteran driver who has logged thousands of miles, your propensity for an accident is very similar. The first may make errors due to lack of experience or judgment, while the second group may make mistakes due to complacency and unchecked bad habits.
Last year I provided some information on a skills test which any one of us can take just to brush up on our driving knowledge. I would like offer this again. Please go to our website at kewauneesheriff.com and click on the "Driving-Test.org” link.
I wish everyone safe travels throughout the rest of the summer and beyond.
Matt Joski is the Kewaunee County Sheriff.
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: Kewaunee County Sheriff: Stop signs can be more dangerous than curves, hills