Collisions at county crossroads a concern


IVESDALE — A local man is worried about the safety of area roads. He’s trying to warn people of the dangers of driving on county roads.

In the past month, two people died in crashes on his street. He lives on County Road 900 North and says intersections are the main problem. There’s nothing to let drivers know there’s an intersection ahead.

It’s the case with a lot of county roads. Danny Bernard says he’s seen too many accidents down the road over the years, so he’s taking action to promote cautious driving through his, and any rural area.

This car isn’t required to stop at this intersection, but Danny Bernard says driving like this could get people killed.

“They’re going straight through. You can’t see around that corner. You just don’t know who’s going to stop.”

His main concerns lies with drivers heading west on 900 North and north on 400 East. With no stop or yield signs in place, and standing corn blocking the view, Bernard says it’s a recipe for disaster. That’s why he made his own signs.

“They’re kind of silly, but slow, unmarked crossroads, danger.”

He might call them silly, but they come from a serious concern.

“One mile down and three miles down, in the past month, two people have died.”

A Danville man and Tolono woman. It’s unclear what caused those crashes. Bernard says most accidents in the country lack one thing:

“Driver awareness. Especially when the corn is up.”

Visibility is one thing. Speed is another. Bernard says he doesn’t need a radar gun to know a lot of drivers go well over the speed limit.

Champaign County Sheriff Dan Walsh says the worst crashes happen when you combine that with drivers who assume they’re the only people on the road.

“A lot of people just don’t look. They have, sort of a tunnel vision. I’m looking right ahead, but I’m not looking right over here where this other car, doing 60 or whatever, is closing that gap real fast.”

When the only signs at an intersection are just identifiers, it might be too late.

“They’re unmarked intersections. What’re you going to do? Assume you have the right of way?”

It’s not just the crossroads he can see from his window. He knows his signs have no legal authority, but, at the very least, he hopes people will slow down to see what they say.

“If it slows one person, saves one person, reminds them, it was worth it.”

Sheriff Walsh says the worst crashes happen when crops are still up. Whether they’re standing or not, he says, just because you can get away with speeding on county roads doesn’t mean you should.

There is a way to get yield or stop signs installed in your area. In bigger towns, people can go to their public works departments. In rural areas, the sheriff says that duty falls onto the township commissioner.

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