Collisions on the rise, but easily avoidable

BY ALLIE HULCHER/ REPORTER

Collisions have been on the rise in Madison, according to the Madison City Police Department.

In July of last year, 15 collisions were reported. The first week of July of this year has already seen 10 collisions.

A steady rise of collisions can be seen since spring: 79 collisions were reported in April, 81 in May, and 91 in June.

Policemen have noticed one problem in particular that is the cause of many collisions – drivers are following the cars in front of them too closely.

Following too closely shortens the reactionary gap, or the crucial time in which a driver can decide how to handle a crisis, and avoid a collision.

“Drivers need to see [the problem], process it, and make a decision of how to react to it,” Lieutenant John Stringer said.

Stringer attributes the growth in the area to the growing numbers of collisions.  He said the three primary contributing circumstances to collisions are following too close, failing to yield right of way and the driver not being in control, which includes any type of distraction.

“If we’re tuning our radio or sending a text, we’ve cut down the reactionary gap even more,” Stringer said.  “By the time you see the stimulus, there’s a good possibility that you’ve already struck it.”

Stringer encourages drivers to drive defensively, reduce distractions in the car as much as possible, and leave early.

“I know it’s frustrating when we get in long lines of traffic,” Stringer said.  “We may feel like we’re taking control and pushing the traffic forward.  But all we’re doing is reducing our reaction time.”

Going back to the basics of driving, said Stringer, is an easy way to avoid a crash.

“Driving is a team sport, it’s a team effort.  Our number one goal is to all get there safely.”

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