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Chester County Press

Traffic safety on country roads

11/27/2013 10:28AM ● By ACL

Letter to the Editor:

Many residents and I have remarked about high speed driving by motorists on Franklin Township roads. This is of great concern because the personal safety for all of us is seriously jeopardized.

In my 35 years of living here, Franklin Township and PennDOT have made significant improvements in the quality of our roads in the form of signage, drainage, shoulder improvements and some adjustments to curves and hills. 

Unfortunately the basic configuration of our roads lack the engineered design of new roads. As our area developed, the unsealed paths that served early farms were just paved without employing engineering techniques. We have well-maintained roads that are poorly designed, with bad curves, hills, bumps, and many driveways with inadequate sight distance. The cost of correcting these deficiencies is enormous, and in most cases impractical because of terrain features and the cost of land required.

Our only option is to adjust our driving habits by reducing our speed to make our roads safer.

There are numerous reasons people drive too fast. Modern cars, even the low-cost ones, employ technologies that make them safer.  Their handling and road stability rival the performance of race cars. These factors give the driver a great sense of control and confidence when traveling too fast on country roads. What many do not realize is that keeping the car on the road is only part of the safety equation. Automotive technology cannot compensate for blind curves, hills, and driveways with inadequate sight distance.

Franklin Township is about halfway through our long-term road paving program, and road surfaces are smooth. PennDOT did an excellent job with recent paving and marking of Route 841. These smooth surface conditions promote faster driving.

But most importantly, we all seem to be in too much of a hurry to get somewhere. Driving slower will not significantly delay your arrival time. When thinking about traveling, consider the appropriate driving time. Don’t get into your car and make the driving time the last thing you can adjust to arrive in a timely manner.

I could talk about various accidents in the Franklin Township, but I do not think the details would be beneficial. I can tell you that nearly all of them were caused by driving too fast for conditions. As you drive our roads, make a conscious effort to think about the road configuration. Could you avoid an accident if you came over a hill or around a curve and the road was obstructed by a deer or a tree, or a car was over the center line or was exiting a driveway?

In the most sincere manner possible, I appeal to you to drive safely and protect all of us. 

John Auerbach

Franklin Township