Luoto/Highway 3 on-ramp said site of turning conflictsApril 19th, 2010 by travis baker
The in basket: Two readers have told me there is a problem with westbound drivers on Highway 308 (Luoto Road) ignoring the Yield signs as they arc onto the northbound on-ramp to Highway 3 and endangering left turners, who have the right of way.
Over a year ago, retired Dr. Robert L. Davis, who tells me he founded the emergency room at Harrison Hospital back in 1976, called to say the Yield sign, which requires right turners entering that on-ramp to yield to left turners, was obscured by tree limbs.
Then last August, after the visibility was improved and a second Yield sign was added, he called again to say, “The other day a guy just about wiped me out at the corner. The signs aren’t doing any good, they need a stop sign there.”
Walt Barrett of Poulsbo told me something similar at a recent social event, saying right turners don’t have to slow down much to make the corner and many don’t. He wondered who would be at fault if there were a collision between right and left turners onto that ramp.
The out basket: State Trooper Krista Hedstrom says the driver who passed the Yield sign without yielding and then collided with a left turner would be at fault, barring some egregious contributing factor by the left turner, like not having headlights on at night.
My experience is that most freeway on-ramps are wide enough that there is room to dodge another car even if its driver was careless and in violation of the Yield sign. And the inconvenience at and after collision even if one is in the right makes it worth doing.
Steve Bennett, traffic operations engineer for the state’s Olympic Region, said the second Yield sign actually was supposed to be a “Yield Ahead” sign and they will change it. Both are visible simultaneously, so I can’t imagine that makes much difference.
Krista says there are not many, if any, collisions at that spot due to failure to yield, nor do they get many complaints about collisions narrowly avoided there. So an unusual step like replacing the Yield signs with a stop sign is all the more unlikely.
They will cite for failure to yield when they see it, though, she said.