Reckless driving contributes to increased car accidents

  • Published
  • By Joseph Bell
  • 23rd Wing Safety
Traffic accidents on the public highways of Valdosta total more than 3,500 annually. 

The most accidents occur where North Valdosta Road intersects with Country Club Drive. The second highest number of accidents occur on Bemiss Road at Northside Drive. 

Several fatalities have occurred at these intersections because someone was in a hurry and ran the traffic light. 

Running traffic lights and speeding have reached epidemic proportion throughout our area, particularly on Bemiss Road. 

Bemiss Road has become one of Valdosta's most dangerous playgrounds. Its daily traffic is by far one of the busiest in Lowndes County. The posted speed limit is 45 mph, however, some vehicles have been observed traveling in excess of 70 mph. 

Speeding and running traffic signals are an unacceptable risk where the cost outweighs the benefit; it places the motorists and others in harm's way. Heavy traffic peaks on Bemiss Road occur during the hours of 6:30-8 a.m. and 3-5:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. 

The repetitive traffic flow of Bemiss' dual lanes north and south may tempt many drivers to exceed the posted speed limit. Therefore, motorists traveling more than 45 mph are not always aware of motorists traveling ahead when the traffic stream is slowing or turning. 

According to our accident files, numerous accidents on Bemiss Road have resulted in the following: 

- rear end collisions 
- head on collisions
- whiplash 
- broken bones 
- pedestrian accidents 
- ruptured discs 
- neck injuries 
- back injuries 
- herniated discs 

What seems to be prevalent is an invigorating winning attitude, but winning what? 
Reckless and energetic actions on the highway can create a bad situation. 

However, a good courteous attitude could prevent most of the accidents or injuries happening throughout our community and elsewhere. 

Furthermore, there has been much concern that the use of wireless phones while driving has increased the number of automobile accidents. Recent research suggests even hands-free units offer no safety advantage over hand-held units. It appears the distraction from the conversation is more likely to cause the accident than the wireless phone itself. 

Some states have laws prohibiting the use of wireless phones while a motor vehicle is in motion. Your safest bet is to pull off the road to use your wireless phone. Remember, safe driving is your first responsibility. 

Motorists must focus on the task of safely operating their vehicle and obey the law. Care about yourself and others, and take the responsibility to ensure all goes well even when someone else is disobeying the law. If someone does display some sort of reckless driving, speeding, running red-lights, weaving in and out of traffic, etc; record their license plate number and a description of the vehicle, and report them to the safety office. 

Wouldn't you appreciate it if someone reported a reckless driver before an accident occurred involving you or your love ones? 

Of course, we know there's no way to avoid all risks - just by getting in your car you're taking a chance. You can out weigh the risks of driving unsafely by driving safely. Even if the risk is one in a thousand, it's not worth it. A good attitude means being smart and avoiding unnecessary risks whenever you can. 

I know you've been getting advice about safety for years. You might have listened to it with one ear, or maybe you never thought about it much. Deep down, you may even think, "It can't happen to me." 

Until, you or someone you know has a bad accident, or a life is lost, you may not realize the harm. The accident affects everyone - especially you. An accident means a lot to the family it affects. 

After the accident, you may notice your attitude about driving has really changed. You make a point of staying alert. You take extra time in stopping for a red-light, not talking on the cell phone, wearing seatbelts and other life-saving measures. 

Why wait until you lose something precious before you realize how easy it would have been to save it? Now is the best time to develop a good attitude about highway safety.