Tragic reminders came this week that danger lurks for unsuspecting drivers on our increasingly crowded local highways.
The incidents involving fatal accidents also serve as potent reminders that drivers must take responsibility for their actions, and that highway management officials must take responsibility for ensuring the highest level of safety that can be provided.
North College Street, or Alabama Highway 147 connecting Auburn and U.S. 280, is a prime example. Any driver who routinely travels that route already should be familiar with the additional caution required at two particularly risky intersections that deserve continued attention.
One is the longtime nemesis that is the intersection at North College and Farmville Road.
Sitting atop of a hill with limited vision and seemingly unlimited traffic flow, a church and daycare center on one corner and a historic cemetery on another, the crossroads is a difficult undertaking for vehicles on Farmville Road daring to cross to the other side.
Local and state officials have bickered for years over the need for major improvements of some kind, such as a signal light, and shortgaps such as blinking caution lights and warning strips across the road don’t seem to suffice.
No matter what the accident ratio numbers show, that intersection needs help.
Then came word Friday night of the most recent tragedy involving North College, when 47-year-old Sharron Robinson Fuller of Opelika was killed and another person was injured in a three-vehicle accident at the intersection with four-lane, interstate-like, U.S. 280.
Alabama has a shortage of state troopers, but it matters not how many are parked at this busy junction if drivers misread the speed and approach of oncoming traffic flow, or can’t see well enough the traffic in all lanes that have to be navigated, or when traffic in one lane is impeded and drivers have little warning.
Clearly there are no easy answers for this dangerous location, and while warnings such as this editorial serve as a reminder for drivers to use extreme caution, all possible avenues of saving lives here should be explored.
Meanwhile, another highway death-related case played out Friday, this one in a Lee County courtroom in which an Auburn man was found guilty of reckless murder after causing an accident in 2016 that killed an Auburn couple and injured two other people.
Accidents can be prevented, but not all of them. Accidents will happen. Purposeful negligence, however, has a range of consequences that can and should be enforced for those who cause havoc and death on already dangerous roads.
A Lee County jury doled out the reminder of that with its Friday verdict of guilty.
Also of note this week from around the state were at least two other traffic fatalities, both in which the drivers were not wearing seat belts that possibly could have saved them.
It’s a dangerous world out there, friends and neighbors.
Please do all you can to ensure your own safety and that of others.
And, we must continue to advocate for safer intersections. Clearly, we need answers.