Drivers reminded to know who has the right of way

Crashes involving drivers who fail to yield to vehicles with the right-of-way are on the rise in Ohio. Washington County had 235 failure to yield crashes last year, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

“Drivers need to remember to be aware of their surroundings and of any view obstructions,” said Sgt. Garic Warner of Ohio State Highway Patrol Marietta Post. “It’s important to know who has the right of way and to yield to that vehicle.”

The two intersections that see the most crashes due to drivers failing to yield are at the intersections of Ohio 7 and Blue Knob Road, and Ohio 7 and Veto Road near Catfish Paradise. From 2012 to 2016, Veto Road had a total of 13 crashes because of failing to yield, including eight with injuries and five with property damages. Leaving Blue Knob Road and turning onto Ohio 7, there have been almost 20 failure to yield crashes including seven injuries and 11 property damages from 2012 through the end of 2016.

It’s a problem within the city as well.

“Drivers need to be aware of their surroundings,” said Capt. Aaron Nedeff with the Marietta Police Department. “It’s all about knowing and paying attention.”

According to Nedeff, the City of Marietta has a few trouble spots where drivers are failing to yield to other drivers.

“Fortunately, we don’t have many accidents that involve drivers failing to yield,” he said. “Some bad spots include the intersections of Butler and Second streets, where Second Street meets Marion and Front streets and by Marietta Memorial Hospital where drivers have a blind spot when turning left leaving the hospital.”

Nedeff said this is something the city’s traffic commission has been discussing. They may offer a proposed solution at that intersection after seeing what changes the Memorial Health System makes after recent purchase of additional property there.

Failure to yield violations can be deadly. According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, from 2012 through 2016, 37,475 crashes in Ohio were caused by a driver failing to yield, killing 187 people and injuring 23,353. Young drivers, ages 16 to 25, were at fault in 30 percent of these crashes. This is nearly twice as high as drivers ages 26 to 35, with 16 percent of drivers at fault.

“Drivers are urged to pay close attention to stop signs and signals when making a movement,” said Nedeff. “Make sure it’s a movement that is lawfully allowed to be made and make sure the intersection is clear.”

According to Warner, drivers can avoid failure to yield crashes very easily. Drivers should slow down and take their time, look both ways before entering an intersection, signal every turn and lane change, make a complete stop at stop lights and stop signs and yield to other drivers by being courteous. Warner says you should stop for at least three full seconds at a stop sign.

At a four-way stop, if two vehicles reach the intersection simultaneously, the vehicle on the left must yield the right of way to the vehicle on the right. Right of way must be yielded to other drivers at a yield sign, to pedestrians in a crosswalk, at uncontrolled intersections where vehicles are already in the intersection, when turning left almost always, driving on an unpaved road and when returning to the roadway after your car is parked.

“Good defensive driving begins with being aware of your surroundings,” said Warner.

By the numbers

¯From 2012 through the end of 2016, 52,207 crashes on Ohio roadways occurred when the at-fault driver failed to yield.

¯This resulted in 206 deaths and 30,929 injuries.

¯Thirty-seven percent of failure to yield crashes resulted in deaths or injuries in 2016, compared to 26 percent of all crashes.

¯Troopers wrote 20,858 citations that included a failure to yield violation in 2016.

¯Washington County had 235 failure to yield crashes last year.

Source: Sgt. Garic Warner of Ohio State Highway Patrol Marietta Post