Traffic safety officials are boosting efforts to curb a growing number of crashes occurring on Iowa’s rural roadways. Highway safety consultant Jan Goldsmith, a retired Iowa D.O.T. employee, says there are too many crashes on rural roads in relation to the amount of traffic on those roads.
“A person is twice as likely to have a crash on rural roads than any other road in the state,” Goldsmith said. “That’s because they’re more slippery, they have uncontrolled intersections, there are no markings on them, they’re narrow…a lot of different reasons.”
Goldsmith believes farmers, who’ve driven on gravel roads for years, understand the dangers and tend to drive more defensively. “But the people who are moving out to the country and living in some of the subdivisions, they don’t realize the roads are so dangerous and they drive much too fast and don’t pay attention to intersections,” Goldsmith said.
The Iowa Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (I-CASH) has produced an educational DVD on the challenges of driving on gravel and rural hard surface roads. Goldsmith says it includes information about the proper techniques for passing farm machinery. I-CASH, which is based at the University of Iowa, is hosting a “Rural Roadway Crashes” safety demonstration today at a rural Iowa City farm.
The I-CASH DVD was funded by grants from the Iowa DOT and the Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health. It’s being sent to driver’s ed instructors, ISU Extension offices, county sheriffs and to companies that instruct future Iowa school bus drivers.
I-CASH link: http://www.public-health.uiowa.edu/icash/