Dangerous intersections: Study highlights most prone to wreckage spots in Valdosta, County Lowndes | New


VALDOSTA – To quote author Douglas Adams, “People are a problem.”

An annual study has highlighted the most dangerous street intersections in Valdosta and Lowndes County, and law enforcement officials agree that the main reason they are dangerous is because people don’t lend a hand. Warning.

“They are distracted,” said Sgt. Bucky Griffin with the Valdosta Police Department. “They’re looking at their smartphones or looking at something by the side of the road.”

Lowndes County Sheriff Ashley Paulk agreed.

“I was in a marked patrol car and pulled over next to someone who was so busy looking at his phone that he didn’t realize law enforcement had pulled up next to it. of them, “he said.

The accident report, from the Metropolitan Planning Organization of Valdosta-Lowndes, examines traffic accident statistics from 2016 to 2020.

In separate listings for high accident risk locations in Incorporated Valdosta County and Unincorporated Lowndes County as well as Hahira and Lake Park, the name “North Valdosta Road” featured prominently.

Four of the 10 most crash-prone intersections in the county involved the North Valdosta Highway, as well as two of the main intersections in Valdosta where crashes occurred.

In the county, the intersection with the most accidents from 2016 to 2020 was North Valdosta Road in Val Del Road, the report says. This crossroads represented 98 wrecks, although none were fatal.

Paulk said one of the issues with this intersection is that drivers get off the nearby Highway 75, where the speed limit is 70 miles per hour, and don’t pay attention to how fast they are. roll off the highway; North Valdosta Road has a lower speed limit. Out-of-state drivers also don’t realize that traffic often slows down on North Valdosta Road during rush hour, the sheriff said.

“That’s why we have a lot of wing folders out there,” he said.

Similar issues plague the county’s No. 4 crash intersection, Lakes Boulevard at Mill Store Road in Lake Park, he said.

This intersection also sits near an I-75 overpass and suffers from heavy use, Paulk said.

“We have a lot of wrecks with people turning left in front of others,” he said.

In town, the most wreck-prone intersection is North Valdosta Road at Country Club Drive.

This place recorded 207 accidents between 2016 and 2020, but, again, no fatalities.

All of Valdosta’s high wreckage locations are high volume areas, Griffin said.

“Morning, afternoon – all of these places are really busy,” he said.

Smartphones aren’t the only distractions drivers face, Sgt.

“People focus on where they go or what they want to eat and not on whether they are driving a 6,000 pound ball,” he said. “It’s basically human nature to worry; you may be thinking of a big meeting at work rather than the road ahead.

Paulk said stopping completely and looking both ways is vital but sometimes not enough.

He said a major thorn in the side of the sheriff’s office is the intersection of Cat Creek Road and Ga. 122.

Although not included in the VLMPO report, Cat Creek / Ga. 122 has seen its share of major accidents over the years

due to the limited visibility in one direction, the sheriff said.

“If you drive north on Cat Creek when you get to the intersection, you can first look left, then right, see nothing, enter the intersection and still have a T-bone,” said Paulk said. This is because Ga. 122 at th

The driver’s left has a hill which reduces sight, while a driver’s right can see clearly for a good distance.

Still, smartphones are a major problem, Griffin said.

“It seems like we can’t go five minutes without looking at a phone,” he said.

From 2016 to 2020, there were 87 fatal wrecks with 91 fatalities in the Valdosta-Lowndes County Metropolitan Planning Organization area, which includes not only Lowndes but small portions of Brooks, Lanier and Berrien counties.

Speed ​​was implicated in eight of the fatal wrecks, and in 492 total crashes, according to the report.

In 2019, there weren’t as many wrecks in the area, Griffin said, as there were fewer people on the road thanks to COVID-19 quarantines and shelter-in-place orders.

Since the COVID-19 restrictions were relaxed, the traffic accident situation has worsened, the Staff Sgt said.

Paulk and Griffin both stress the need for drivers to focus on safety.

“Wear seat belts, slow down, put down your cell phone and focus on driving,” Griffin said.

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