Gravel roads in Iowa remain a dangerous place for motorists. Tom Welch, with the Iowa Department of Transportation, says more accidents are happening on gravel roads, in part, because of changes in who’s driving in rural Iowa.
He says more non-farm families have moved to rural Iowa and make more trips into town, meaning there’s more vehicles on those gravel roads. In addition, Welch says the rural families often include young, inexperienced drivers. Most rural intersections do not have yield or stop signs, and Welch says that probably won’t change.
"They’re difficult to maintain," Welch says, "and if they’re not maintained, and there’s sign vandalism, there’s liability issues with the county engineers. At certain times of the year those stop signs aren’t really warranted, and that increases people who abuse it and roll through (the stop sign), and then they take that habit into other intersections where we absolutely want them to stop."
Welch says it’s best to tell motorists to approach every intersection with caution, rather than put up stop signs. He says people are going to drive the way they want in rural Iowa no matter what signs are posted. Welch is warning motorists that rural intersections can be especially dangerous time of year, since the corn crop is tall and can block the driver’s view of oncoming vehicles.