We asked Maumelle Police Chief Sam Williams and Lt. Jim Hansard, patrol commander, to offer advice and suggestions on how to avoid being a statistic by being involved in one of those accidents at a Maumelle intersection.
Suggestions on avoiding accidents at Maumelle intersections:
The number one cause of accidents on the Boulevard is failure to yield. The number one cause of citizen complaints regarding traffic is speeding in the neighborhoods. Both are important issues and both can be solved by leaving the house earlier. Give yourself plenty of time, don’t take dangerous chances at intersections and slow down, particularly in the neighborhoods where there are pedestrians.
Drive Defensively — watch out for other vehicles and drivers. Anticipate the other driver’s actions which could lead to an accident.
Don’t speed — driving the speed limit gives you time to anticipate turns and what may happen at intersections.
Don’t speed up at intersections when you see a yellow light. If you start your turn on yellow, chances are that the other driver who may be driving too fast may see a green light before you clear the intersection.
Even though you may have a green light or green arrow, don’t assume that traffic in the other lane coming toward you will stop. You may have the legal right-of-way but that won’t mean anything if you’re injured or dead.
Allow extra time to make turns — assume the other cars won’t stop and wait for visual indications the traffic is slowing or stopping before initiating a turn.
Always wait until the median crossover area is totally clear before proceeding. Never assume that the vehicle in that location is going to proceed when there is a break in traffic. This mistake is very frequent and causes a huge number of accidents.
If there is a vehicle in the median awaiting an opportunity to turn stay where you are in the turn lane with your turn signal operating.
Never turn to end up inside the median beside another vehicle waiting to cross or blocking the median that drivers in the opposite lane would use to turn your way.
Turn cell phones and smart phones off while you’re on Maumelle Boulevard — There is too much traffic traveling at too high a rate of speed to be distracted even for a second.
No distracted driving — which could include texting, reading texts, talking to passengers, not paying attention or any number of actions that can take your concentration off your job — driving.
If possible, leave a little earlier or later each morning to avoid much of the traffic rush and leave earlier or later returning home each afternoon.
Keep your vehicle in proper operating condition — poor tires or other issues can cause your vehicle to stop in the middle of rush hour traffic.
Always operate a vehicle cautiously —act like every drive you’re flying an airplane because a car crash can be just as deadly.
Never operate a motor vehicle under the influence of anything that impairs your ability to drive — that could mean strong cough syrup if it contains chemicals that create problems or pain medication not to mention nonprescription medication. If you have any questions about new medicine, ask your physician or pharmacist, read the warning labels and be careful when mixing or taking more than one type of medication at the same time.
Whether the drug you’ve taken is legal like alcohol or illegal, just because you think you can drive, you still may be impaired and could be arrested if it causes an accident or signs of impaired driving.
Never — under any circumstances mix alcohol with prescription drugs.
Watch out for children and elderly drivers — it could be your child chasing a ball out into the street or your parents driving below the speed limit.
Always buckle your seat belts — they have proven to be life savers.
Concerned about traffic on the Boulevard — Carpool. It makes sense economically, environmentally and from a safety aspect (less vehicles, less accidents)……. and you have a golden opportunity to get acquainted with your neighbors.
Even better — use public transportation like the Central Arkansas Transit buses that run regular schedules through Maumelle. Consider using public transportation for one week. Give it a chance, you might be surprised!
Deer versus vehicle accidents: When you see a deer cross in front of you, always be on the lookout for the next deer: they invariably travel in groups. Never swerve to avoid hitting a deer without checking for surrounding vehicles.
Under some conditions, sudden jerking of the steering wheel one way or another can cause your vehicle to flip over if the circumstances are just right, like having ran off the edge of the roadway and catching your tires on the payment. Moves should be slow and deliberate, never sudden.
Parents — educate yourself about the legal requirements, registration requirements, age restrictions and laws governing two-wheeled smaller vehicles in Maumelle by your children. Know the helmet, passenger and common sense rules.
Scooters and mopeds don’t mix very well with large vehicles, especially when lots of traffic and speed are involved. Mistakes are going to be made. Having it occur on Maumelle Boulevard could mean the difference between life and death for young operators.
Drive appropriately for the weather conditions — best advice in poor weather is to stay at home, but if you must drive, know your winter driving tactics and skills.
In rain as well as ice and snow, allow extra time to stop your vehicle because it will take longer.
Avoid sudden stops — you may be not at fault if you stop to avoid an animal, but that won’t stop someone following you too closely from rear-ending you.
Never take chances — if you have any doubts whether you can turn before the oncoming traffic gets there, always wait until traffic thins out. Nine times out of ten you may be right, but that last time could be deadly.
Drive like your life depends upon it — because it does.