Baltimore County, Maryland Drivers Cite Dangerous Intersections

STOP signs are the primary form of traffic control at U.S. intersections. As you drive through Maryland’s city streets and country back roads, do you come to a full stop at every stop sign? What about at intersections where you have the right of way, and the other guy has a stop sign? Do you still stop there, or just slow down enough to make sure the other driver stops? Or do you blow through the intersection and hope for the best?

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), one-third of all US intersection crashes occur at crossings that have stop signs. The most common causes are drivers failing to stop for the stop signs, or stopping and then failing to yield to other vehicles, colliding at an angle. Obstructed vision (e.g., due to buildings, trees, or parked cars) is another frequent cause of accidents at intersections. However studies have shown that…

Installing all-way signs can reduce motor vehicle accidents at intersections by 40 to 60 percent. The Towson Patch recently surveyed Baltimore County residents for their top picks of the region’s most dangerous intersections—including those that might benefit from having stop signs installed. Perhaps some of their picks are intersections in Maryland communities that you’ve driven through cautiously yourself. They include…

“Bucks Schoolhouse Road and Perry Hall Blvd” (Rosedale)
“York Road between Cockeysville Road and Sherwood Road” (Cockeysville)
“Butler Road and Central Ave” (Glyndon)
“Margate and Pickett Roads” (Lutherville Timonium)

…among others. Readers expressed safety concerns about intersections with no stop signs, as well as over drivers who fail to stop at intersections with stop signs in place.

As we know, today’s Maryland drivers have many distractions, not the least of which are cell phones, onboard computers, GPS systems, and other electronics. So it’s not surprising that some drivers may fail to stop for stop signs at intersections.

The IIHS reports that painting “STOP AHEAD” in the roadway can cut down on motor vehicle accidents. When evaluating the use of such roadway markings in Maryland, Arkansas, and Minnesota, the agency found a 60-percent reduction in accidents at three-legged intersections; a 23 percent reduction in accidents at four-legged intersections; while intersections with all-way stops showed a 56 percent crash reduction.

Wherever you drive in Maryland, your best bet is to be aware of your surroundings and always drive defensively. We’ve all seen too many sad stories in the news of fatal car crashes occurring at intersections. Roadway markings and stop signs help, but they don’t eliminate the risks at intersections. The IIHS reports that in 2007, about 2.4 million intersection-related crashes occurred in the U.S.; of those 561,000 were police-reported crashes at intersections with stop signs, and about 2,800 of those were fatal.

Patch Readers Sound Off on Stop Signs in Baltimore County
Towson Patch April 7, 2016

Many stop sign crashes occur when drivers stop but fail to yield
Status Report, Vol. 37, No. 9 | October 26, 2002
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

‘Stop ahead’ road markings reduce crashes
Status Report, Vol. 43, No. 11 | December 27, 2008
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

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