Girl on Fire: Control the uncontrolled intersections

[As seen in Creston News Advertiser, July 7, 2015]

First, before I start in on my column’s main focus, I’d like to wish my coworker Jake Waddingham all the best as he continues his education at Iowa State University. I truly hope he reaches his goals!

Now, I want to apologize to the police officer I nearly hit Saturday evening.

I was on my way to a reception at the Elks Lodge on West Montgomery Street after the wedding of my close friends Lee Freeman and Shawna Creveling. I reached the intersection at North Spruce Street, looked both ways and headed through the intersection when suddenly a police car was pulling toward me on the right. Thankfully, I slammed on my brakes, let him pass and had to stop the car as soon as I could to stop my hands from shaking and wait for the officer to ticket me, which I am also thankful didn’t happen.

The incident was not the first time I’d had a near miss at that specific intersection. Unfortunately, the intersection of West Montgomery and North Spruce streets is uncontrolled, with no signs to speak of.

According to statistics compiled by Iowa Department of Transportation, from 2008 to 2012, there were 257 intersection-related accidents within Creston city limits, and thankfully none of them involved fatalities. According to a map drawn up by the Iowa DOT, while most accidents happen along the two highways through Creston, there were several that did happen at West Montgomery and North Spruce.

I also did a little digging online and found a list of intersections in Creston set for improvement, and in what order those intersections are compared to the rest of the state of Iowa. West Montgomery and North Spruce are tied with another at 9,954th place in the entire state.

While having more accidents occur in other areas of the town makes those areas more important, the fact is uncontrolled intersection accidents could be lessened by just putting up a couple of stop or yield signs.

Another thing I’ve noticed at this and other uncontrolled intersections is there is a large number of drivers who don’t know how to navigate them. When you come to the intersection, slow down and yield the right of way to the driver to your right. I’ve met several drivers at that intersection to my right who just sit there waiting for me to drive through, when it’s me who should be waiting, or others who are to my left and drive on through without paying me any attention.

I suppose, in the end, this is a call to our city administrators to help prevent accidents by putting up more stop or yield signs throughout the town. I’m not in denial about the fact it won’t change everything, but if it prevents one accident out of hundreds, isn’t that worth something?

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