Between 2010 and 2015, Walnut Creek experienced more than 800 traffic accidents, including 10 which resulted in fatalities. Many of these accidents occurred at or near a handful of high-traffic intersections.
Publicly available data revealed that the most dangerous Walnut Creek intersection was Oak Grove Road and Ygnacio Valley Road, which saw 65 accidents—the highest number among all the city’s intersections.
Another accident-prone intersection is Candelero Drive and Treat Boulevard. Over the past five years, this intersection was the site of 48 accidents that caused 45 injuries and 2 deaths—both of whom were pedestrians. Many factors play into why accidents happen. For example, driving at unsafe speeds played a role in more than 30 accidents at Candelero Drive and Treat Boulevard. Other factors which caused accident include following too closely, improper passing and turning, and driving under the influence.
It’s important for drivers to be aware of the most hazardous intersections so they can use caution when traveling through those areas. In addition, residents should take additional precautions to protect themselves when walking near these intersections.
Steps to Avoid Auto Accidents
Motorists often believe that as long as they are driving under the posted speed limit, they are driving safely. CA Vehicle Code section 22350, however, requires motorists to drive at a speed that is reasonable for the present conditions. This law requires drivers to consider the weather, visibility, traffic, and the surface and width of the road. When motorists speed (whether above the posted speed limit or unreasonable for present conditions), it creates an unsafe environment for themselves and their fellow drivers on the road.
In addition, motorists now have more distractions while driving than ever before. Technology has introduced cell phones, GPS, and other devices that can endanger everyone on the road.
What are some steps that Walnut Creek citizens can take to stay safe on the roads?
- Practice proper vehicle maintenance. Tires, brakes and other equipment should be in good working order at all times.
- Position safety equipment correctly. Before leaving home, drivers should make sure that mirrors and seats are positioned for maximum viewing of the road in all directions. Being aware of blind spots also enhances safety.
- Watch out for other vehicles. Paying attention to traffic flow helps drivers anticipate hazards.
- Avoid driving during poor weather when possible. Pouring rain, wind, fog and other adverse weather conditions increase the risk of an accident.
- Avoid driving at night when possible. Driving after dark adds to the danger because visibility is lower and more drivers are suffering from fatigue.
- Avoid risky driving behaviors. To stay safe, drivers should not speed, change lanes without signaling, or tailgate other vehicles.
- Keep to the right or center lane. In general, motorists should avoid the fast lane to stay out of the path of speeding vehicles and to have access to an escape route should an emergency situation occur.
- Stay focused. Using a cell phone, eating, applying makeup or even talking with passengers can distract a driver and cause an accident.
By being aware of dangerous intersections, driving safely and remaining alert, Bay Area drivers can better protect themselves, their loved ones, and other motorists from dangers on local roads and highways.
Joseph J. Appel/Walnut Creek