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New Hanover Co. again among worst in traffic safety

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Wilmington once again is receiving bad marks for traffic safety. Of the five worst counties in the Tar Heel State, New Hanover comes in second for accidents in a new AAA report.

AAA says there were nearly 4,500 accidents in New Hanover County in 2011. This qualifies it, once again, for the state's most dangerous counties list.

Drivers we spoke with in New Hanover County say they're not too worried about the new statistics and will continue to look out for themselves and other drivers.

"You really have to be on your Ps and Qs when you're driving, because you never know what the next driver's gonna do," Michelle Galloway said. "They will dart in front of you. Have no respect. You just have to go with the flow and be a defensive driver."

Joey Simmons said, "It's not too bad. I personally have never been in an accident, and I've been driving for a long time, but you have to be on your toes, because there are a lot of accidents every day, especially downtown."

Some drivers, though, say it's not as bad as it could be.

"Up north it's bumper to bumper. You'd rather be on a bike. It's not too bad, though, compared to the north," Avery Decarolis said.

Most drivers agree that the low grade may have something to do with the diversity of people, including students, retirees and tourists, who come to New Hanover County. Drivers also say the number of accidents may be up because of the constant use of cell phones.

"Not only are you looking out for people who can't drive, you're looking out for other people who have so many mobile devices that they're paying attention to that and they're not paying attention to the road," Galloway said.

Tomorrow, the Wilmington Police Department will also address driving issues, specifically pedestrian-related accidents. Officers will enforce crosswalks at high traffic intersections, including 3rd and Ann Streets, 2100 Market Street, 17th Street and Medical Center Drive and Ashton and Independence Blvd.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.

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I agree

with all the comments about cell phones being used but that's not indigenous to Wilmington - that's a nationwide concern.

What gets me are the 2 turn lane intersections such as Independence and CB road. If you come down Ind and you are turning LEFT to go south on SB Road you are facing the people coming up Ind wanting to turn left to go NORTH on CB road.
If the cars on the outside lanes drift just by a few inches you've got a head on collision and the actual lanes are not marked throughout the "turn" and I can see why. Having all those curved lines on the road surface would just confuse people.
But cell phones are a legitimate gripe nd easily addressed.
My other concern are the roads - this is a great city steeped in tradition but c'mon folks this is not the antebellum south anymore. The trees along Market street are a danger, as is the fountain.
We seemed to have a city that is modernizing in the face of old traditions and landmarks. It's time to decide which we way are going as it pertains to our roads

Vog

Partially agree...

Vog you have it partially right. Something needs to be done about the middle turn lane (chicken lane) on Carolina Beach Road especially. It is a free-for-all of left turns out of every business and like I said in my earlier post I was almost (yet again) the victim of someone jumping out into it and almost colliding with me in the process.

What I don't agree with is your statement about removing the few treasures we have remaining in Wilmington such as the fountain and beautiful trees on Market Street. I grew up in Wilmington...lived in the city practically all my life. Just because those leaving the downtown bars can't drive in a circle shouldn't mean that the circle must go. If some idiot runs into the fountain then they should be held responsible for repairing it as damage to historical property. Yes the trees on Market Street that add so much charm need to be regularly pruned to remove dead and weak branches...but cut them down??? The charm of the old south is what people come to Wilmington to relive and enjoy...and we WIMLINGTON NATIVES find so special about the wonderful city we grew up in. But alas...there are so many transplants here that don't give a hoot about preserving the few things that are here that have been signatures of our fair city throughout all these years.

Drivers aren't paying attention and...

...are in too big of a hurry! Speeders need to slow down. People need to stop for red lights and stop rolling through stop signs in front of oncoming traffic with a cell phone growing out of their ear. Every other car has someone yakking on the phone with their mind elswhere, in the left lane, not to mention texters not even looking at where they are going. I even spotted a city police officer texting while driving 2 days ago. He was totally oblivious to his surroundings, including me observing him blatantly break the law. Incredible!

All of this combined with the screwed up traffic patterns the DOT has designed, poor road upkeep and inadequate traffic infrastructure is a wonderful recipie to keep the body shops pot full of stew and the traffic courts overflowing.

Tickets

Police need to start enforcing the laws. Speed limit signs mean nothing to 80% of the people in Wilmington. Drive down Carolina Beach Rd or Market Street and you will see what I mean. However, the police when they do run radar are only out on MLK where the speed limit should be higher.

I think we need to start looking for a Chief that will make his people write tickets. It is bad when people run red lights in front of a patrol car and the police office just keeps going..

And the moment the WPD

And the moment the WPD cracks down on unsafe drivers, you will get a bunch of people on here saying "Don't they have rapists and murderers to catch? Why are they bothering me for going a little over the speed limit (little= 15-20mph)? Everyone runs red lights. Don't they have better things to do? It's all a vast government conspiracy to make money from tickets and court costs."
I'd bet money that the comment board would light up with asinine comments like that if traffic laws were enforced better. You can't have it both ways.

If all of these people

If all of these people making these up North comments would move back we would not have this problem.

Driving ILM

Wow...really? Let's see...just yesterday on my daily commute I had a driver in front of me drifting off the road and I could see the phone in their right hand....I had an SUV so close to my rear bumper that if I had to slam on breaks they would not been able to avoid me...I was passed on Carolina Beach road by an oil tanker that must have been doing over 50 in a 40 that couldn't stop at a red light and ran it...and a car making a left turn into the "chicken" lane (which is a turn lane people...not a merging lane) stuck the nose of their car a little too far which I had to brake and go around. Oh...and that doesn't even count the guy on the scooter that people were having to negotiate passing room. Its like roller derby every single day!!! I've never been in a wreck....I drive the speed limit (which actually makes people angry) because I leave in plenty of time to get where I am going...I don't use my cell phone...I use my blinkers...I leave plenty of room between my car and the one in front of me. But no matter how well I drive there are 10 taking unecessary risks all around me putting me in danger just so they can stay connected (make sure they send that LOL back their buddy)...make it to where they are going on time...or being a bully. Accidents aren't accidents except for the victims of someone else's negligence and carelessness.

Partially Correct

The Center Turn Lane, or "chicken lane" as you put it, is actually designed to be used as a staging area when turning left onto a road that contains a center turn lane. That person was actually using the center turn lane as intended but simply failed to keep their vehicle inside the lines of the lane.

You got it right!

GuestK, you said it right! I have one to add...they pull out onto the highway right in front of you, yet I look back in my mirror and there's nothing behind me? Gee, that 2 seconds longer was going to cost them some time I guess.....

Bad street signs and short yellow lights cause accidents

The street signs are way too small, don't always reflect at night and are in the middle of the intersection. New people move here every year for school and to visit, so make signage and directions in LARGE print and before the actual street. Drivers make last second turns because that's when they finally see the sign.

Every county has higher cell phone usage so don't blame that.

Their time would be better

Their time would be better spent watching for texting motorists and tailgaters.

Turn signals

Here's a tip that most drivers in Wilmington don't know about. Cars are equipped with a turn signal. It's located on the left side of the steering column. When you push it down, lights on the LEFT side of your car (front and back) start blinking and other drivers are alerted that you are planning on turning LEFT. When you push it up, lights on the RIGHT side of your car (front and back) start blinking and other drivers are alerted that you are planning on turning RIGHT.

Hope this helps.

As Carol Kramer stated,

As Carol Kramer stated, "When you push it down, lights on the LEFT side of your car (front and back) start blinking and other drivers are alerted that you are planning on turning LEFT. When you push it up, lights on the RIGHT side of your car (front and back) start blinking and other drivers are alerted that you are planning on turning RIGHT."

As a further tip when driving please you the little stick to tell the other drivers (yes there are other drivers on the road besides you) that you are turning before you actually turn! Everyday I watch people get into turning lanes, and start to actually turn and then turn on the turn signal half way thru the turn! It's kinda pointless by then. The most dangerous of these acts are when driving down say Market street or Carolina Beach road. You are driving along and the car infront of you turns into a drive way of a business; this car does not slow down until they are at the drive way they want to turn into; then they come to almost a complete stop. While turning into the drive way the driver will then turn on the turn signal. It's like waiting until I slam on brakes and almost hit them and they turn on the signal as if to say, "well I signaled" Can cops stop people for not using turn signals? and send them back to driving school?

true

I agree with your point, if folks would use these blinking lights to indicate turns, life would be easier.