Talk to almost everyone who lives and works in Amarillo and they will tell you of a close-call story while driving around town. Just this morning I had a person decide to merge at a snail's pace from the far right lane all the way over to the left right in front of me. No turn signals, no indication they needed to get over. They just yanked the wheel and went for it. Although Amarillo isn't a major metropolitan area, we see our fair share of accidents. And not just along I-40 where speeds are high and people are busy just getting from point A to point B.

According to a report from KFDA-TV, a study of statistics how that Amarillo has the highest rate of accidents with fatalities in Texas. The study shows that the most common accidents are those involving turns and failure to maintain speed control. Left hand turns accounted for 79% of the accidents in the study. It should come as no surprise that the highest amount of accidents have been recorded along Soncy, Coulter, Bell, Western, and Georgia.

Now that we know and have concrete statistics, what do we do to solve the problem? The City of Amarillo says they are working to come up with the best plan of attack, including working with engineers to see if intersection designs need to be changed. It could also be a matter of education in those areas to make sure drivers and pedestrians know how to properly maneuver the intersection. The Amarillo Public Works Department is in the process of opening a traffic control center. This will allow the city to watch traffic patterns and signal controls all across town. This could help determine areas where an intersection design needs to be changed.

While all of this is a positive step in the right direction, there is one easy step everyone can take right now. PAY ATTENTION! That's it. The more focused we are on the roadway and the folks around us, the safer we can make this city. To the person that cut me off this morning, just look. That was all you had to do. One simple peak in your mirror and we could have avoided the close call.


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