Save Lives, Reduce Accidents - Add Left-Turn Only Signal
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The traffic light intersection of Smallwood Drive and St Patrick Drive has become an insurance nightmare and a death-trap for many less experienced High School drivers from the local Westlake High School. Too often, families have been devasted by vehicle accidents, some resulting in horrific fatalities, due to the inefficiency of the current traffic light and intersection design.
The main reason for traffic signals are: (1) to allow road users to safely navigate through an intersection; (2) to give priority to a particular direction / mode of travel at different times of the day; and (3) through coordination, allow large volumes of traffic to pass through the network with minimal delay.
The current traffic light pattern at the intersection of Smallwood Drive and St Patrick Drive, Charles County, Waldorf Maryland (as you progress down Smallwood Drive from the Mall) adversely impedes the opposing view of left-turning drivers. The left-turn lane completely impedes the right-of-way view so a left-turning driver cannot see if the right-of-way is clear to proceed. As a result, drivers either place themselves in a dangerous position half-way in the path of oncoming traffic in order to see around the opposing left-turn lane or dart across the right-of-way/intersection, and hope for the best. This inefficient design makes the number one, primary reason of traffic lights, "to allow road users to safely navigate through an intersection", derelict.
The solution is simple: modify the programming of the existing green arrow to a "Left Turn on Green Only". The left-turn on green signal only would allow only those turning left to proceed through the intersection, NOT at the same time as the straight thoroughfare drivers - they should remain on red. When the left-turn on green arrow turns red, the straight thoroughfare would then proceed. The left turn lane and the straight lane should NOT be green at the same time! This will prevent drivers from crossing in front of oncoming traffic.
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