Improvements needed for road safety

April 22, 2008 — by Alicia Lee and Brandon Yang

A Saratoga driver sits in his car on his way to work in the morning in front of a stop sign, waiting for a line of cars to end. After a while, traffic has not lessened. The number of cars going down Saratoga Ave. is nearly endless. The driver finally attempts to rush through the traffic, barely avoiding another driver in a large SUV going 60 mph honking the horn angrily. Surviving the incident, the driver then makes his way towards his office.

Local streets grow more dangerous every day as many drivers, especially students, violate numerous traffic laws. In an effort to save time and arrive at school before the bell rings, students and parents speed down streets, sometimes running red lights while being oblivious to other people who could be seriously injured. Several changes should be made throughout Saratoga to make the roads safer and convenient for all who use them.

At several intersections, new traffic lights should be installed in order to make street safety more efficient. For instance, it is very difficult for drivers to turn left onto Saratoga Ave. from Herriman Ave., especially in the morning and afternoon when traffic is worst. Many drivers are stuck waiting for a gap in oncoming traffic or risk their lives as they charge in between an ongoing line of cars since no driver will slow down to allow a few cars through. Having people control the flow of traffic here and at other locations, such as parking lots exits, where such problems occur would help solve this problem.

Another issue is the use of turn signals. At certain traffic lights, such as at Herriman and Saratoga Sunnyvale, the use of turn signals is essential as drivers at both side may continue driving straight, or turn left or right. Because some drivers either forget to use their turn signals or just choose to ignore them, they confuse other drivers, resulting in slowed traffic or car accidents. As a result, it would be best to either add a designated left turn lane, or adjust the traffic lights so only one side can cross the road at a time.

When there are many pedestrians and cars, especially before school, crossing roads can become hazardous. Students are forced to cross the street while watching for impatient drivers who just charge through the intersection, trying to beat the red light. Occasionally, there are drivers completely oblivious to the red light or stop sign, zooming into the intersection, regardless of those nearby. More courtesy and patience between drivers and pedestrians would greatly reduce accidents and improve pedestrian safety.

These changes, along with the cooperation of all drivers, would ensure the efficiency and the safety of all those who share the roads.

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