By Scott Prater
City officials recently released a list identifying the most dangerous intersections in Colorado Springs, many commonly traveled by Schriever commuters.
The most dangerous intersection in the city sits at Briargate Parkway and Powers Boulevard, the stretch of road many Schriever drivers use every day. The second most dangerous intersection is Palmer Park Boulevard and Space Center Drive, less than two miles from the north gate at Peterson Air Force Base, where a multitude of Schriever personnel live.
Tech. Sgt. Steven Briggs, 50th Space Wing ground safety manager, briefed base leaders on the list of the most dangerous intersections and the major causes for their inclusion.
“For example, North Powers and Briargate was under construction and visibility was poor there,” Sergeant Briggs said. “It’s been under scrutiny for years, but they’ve just completed work there.”
City traffic engineers rate the intersections based on the number of accidents, the severity of those accidents and the number of fatalities that occur every year.
Sergeant Briggs said it’s important to keep Airmen aware of the city’s trouble areas when it comes to traffic because motor vehicle incidents are the leading cause of fatalities in the Air Force.
His brief to the 50th Space Wing leadership coincides with the Department of Defense’s Winter Safety Campaign, a joint effort by all services to reduce the fatal mishap rate among military members.
“Our target audience is those under age 26,” Sergeant Briggs said. “They average 62 percent of fatalities during the winter months.”
That’s one reason the safety office also briefs Airmen at the First Term Airman’s Center.
“I brief at the intermediate traffic safety course, and I highlight the top 10 reasons why we lose Airmen to traffic accidents,” Sergeant Briggs said.
Distracted driving, fatigue, alcohol, failure to wear seatbelts and speeding are some of the major causes cited on that list.
“I talk to young Airmen about cell phone use while driving,” Sergeant Briggs said. “I call it, ‘driving while intexticated.’ And I’m not a big fan of the hands-free devices either. Just because your hands are free doesn’t mean you’re paying attention to what you’re doing.”
Six crossings along Powers Boulevard are included in the city’s top-25 most dangerous intersections, but Sergeant Briggs says his briefings aren’t intended to incite panic about specific intersections.
“People shouldn’t be memorizing particular intersections, but they should know that intersections are a planned point of conflict, he said. “Drivers should be approaching all intersections with caution, looking both ways, driving at the appropriate speed given the current conditions and leaving room between themselves and the vehicles in front of them.”
Sergeant Briggs contends that adopting defensive driving strategies provides the best form of protection against potential dangers on the road.
“An intersection is a box of death,” he said. “You should consider everyone you see to be the worst driver in the world – it’s all about defensive driving.”
The winter safety campaign is an awareness effort that analyzes trends from years past during the winter time frame and focuses efforts on reducing those trends in the current year. This year’s campaign ended March 1. Airmen can get more information on traffic safety from their unit safety representatives.
To see the complete list of the 25 most dangerous intersections in Colorado Springs, visit www.springsgov.com/NewsResults.asp?NewsID=3727.