News Channel 6 Investigates: The 6 Most Dangerous Intersections, Part 2
By Deon Guillory, WJBF GMA Weekend Anchor/Reporter - email
Photo of a dangerous intersection
Augusta, GA -
Getting behind the wheel to go to work, take the kids to school, or head home is part of the daily routine, but the trip doesn't always end the way we planned...as accidents happen.
"Well, this one car was turning on a yellow, almost a red arrow and another car was coming through and missed, oh, by that much," said Peggy Edgar, an Augusta driver. "When I'm at the red light and the light turns green, I don't just take off. I wait a few seconds to make sure that nobody's gonna run the light," she added.
So, WJBF News Channel 6 put in a request to the Richmond County Sheriff's Office for a list of its high accident locations.
These are the top 3:
We start with the intersection of Walton Way and Highland Avenue. While our cameras were there, we saw two near crashes and a white pickup making a left turn from Walton Way onto Highland Avenue. But at the stop light, hangs a sign saying no left turn.
You can also see several cars having a tough time moving over for an ambulance.
"I think a lot of them get comfortable driving and forget what they were taught back when they went for their driver's license," said Sergeant Danny Whitehead, of the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.
According to Richmond County County Sheriff's Office accident numbers, Walton Way and Highland Avenue had 28 total collisions from April 2013 to April 2014. That's down by 1 from the same 12-month period a year earlier.
Sgt. Whitehead says many crashes happen because drivers are distracted and end up following too close. "Rather, someone's texting on their phone, rather they're reading, eating...for whatever...they're taking their attention from the roadway and that's usually what causes the following too closely accidents," he said.
Number two on our list is Windsor Spring Road and Tobacco Road in south Augusta. Figures show there were 34 total crashes during the past 12 months. That's up from 22 a year before.
Deon Guillory, reporting: "We're here at the most dangerous intersection in Richmond County. I'm talking about Gordon Highway and Deans Bridge Road. This will take you anywhere in the city, to south Augusta, to downtown. The intersection is so big, one wrong turn can lead to an accident."
"Well, some been fatal. We had a death right up there," said Nathaniel Johnson, who works near the worst intersection.
For the last nine years, Nathaniel Johnson has owned Clean Cut Barbershop in a shopping center right by Gordon Highway and Deans Bridge Road. He says, he's seen a lot. "By me just being out here, seeing things, I notice some people, they do a lot of speeding," he said.
Numbers from the Sheriff's Office show there were 40 collisions at the intersection of Gordon Highway and Deans Bridge Road in the past 12 months. That's up from 22 between April 2012 to April 2013.
"Forty accidents, in 12 months. Actually, I think we could do better because that's a high number," Johnson said.
"I think Gordon Highway and Deans Bridge Road is a lot of them either trying to beat the light or failure to yield when they are entering from Highway 1 onto Gordon Highway. We see a lot of crashes in those two lanes," Sgt. Whitehead said.
While there, our cameras caught drivers distracted by cell phones, which is something the Sheriff's Office is cracking down on.
"Part of Operation [Rolling] Thunder was getting out and actually enforcing cell phone violations while operating a motor vehicle. That was the number one thing we were looking at as far as violations," said Sgt. Whitehead.
Now, added to the focus is decreasing the number of accidents. "What are the contributing factors? Maybe, at the time that we see a peak, that's when we're sending the officers out and we're making sure they're at these intersections at the time that we need them," Sgt. Whitehead added.
It's a plan Johnson believes needs all of us to make it work. "Let's get off these phones, let's put these phones down. It's not that serious, and pay attention!" he said.
Sgt. Whitehead says the best chance to avoid getting into an accident at these intersections, or anywhere else, is to pay attention to the road and keep enough distance between you and the car in front of you, just in case that driver slams on the brakes.