Until the state and the county can find a way to make Blue Jay Road and Highway 17’s crossing safer, avoiding any more calamitous accidents likely will rest in the hands of the motorists crossing through the intersection.
That Blue Jay Road is a high-risk rural road is not a question. Last month, a 19-year-old woman had to be cut out of her car after a wreck near Hodgeville Road. Two months ago, a woman was killed while traveling west on Blue Jay Road and her car was hit by a vehicle traveling north on Highway 17.
A man was killed at 17 and Blue Jay Road last year, but that was the result of a tree that had fallen into the road on a dark, rainy night.
Regardless, the intersection is dangerous. It is clearly marked that drivers on Blue Jay Road are approaching a stop sign, whether they are eastbound and westbound.
But how to make drivers more aware that they are coming to an intersection, where the cross traffic coming through is at 55 mph, and it’s up to them to stop before proceeding?
For the time being, a traffic signal isn’t in the cards for Blue Jay and Highway 17. The remedies being floated include rumble strips along Blue Jay Road and putting flashers on the large “Stop Ahead” signs to further gain the attention of drivers that there is, in fact, a stop ahead.
There is even talk of putting in a roundabout at 17 and Blue Jay Road. For those who have traveled along Highway 46 in South Carolina, there are a couple of such roundabouts there that slow down traffic at intersections. Could that work at Blue Jay and 17, especially with the rate of speed of vehicles on Highway 17 and especially with the number of semis and log trucks on that road?
Drivers deal with more distractions than ever before, most of which they can hold in their own hand. Now that it’s been established that drivers need to be more aware of their surroundings when coming through the Highway 17-Blue Jay Road intersection, the less they have on their minds and the more attention they can pay to the road the better. For them, and for others.