Dangers of two lane highways

Special Report: Dangers of two-lane...

MONTEREY COUNTY, Calif. - Driving almost anywhere on the Central Coast means taking a two lane road. But many of these roads and highways pose dangers for drivers, especially when they're not cautious.

"Primary collision factors in this area are speeding, following to close, and also DUI", explained Ruben Gonzales, an officer for the California Highway Patrol. He says these violators are not just the young people. "It’s across the board. Everybody can get distracted. Everybody speeds and follows too close." 

The CHP responds to most calls at certain times of the day. "It’s going to be your morning commute when people are on their way to work and after work during the afternoon commute," says Gonzales.

CHP responds to accidents on two lane highways across the Central Coast, but Highway 68 has the most. Other roads topping the list in Monterey County with the most accidents so far this year are Highway 183, San Miguel Canyon Road, and Carmel Valley Road.

Caltrans says its doing its part to improve some of these roads and install safety features. "Rumble strips as you know are used to help either wake up the driver or alert the driver that they're veering off the road or about to hit the median. Depending on where they're placed," explained Susana Cruz, Public Information Officer for Caltrans. 

For drivers who travel between Castroville and Prunedale, they'll be getting more than rumble strips. "On 156, there's the west corridor project that is anticipated to widen to a 4 lanes divided expressway," said Cruz.

Some people wonder why concrete barriers aren’t just installed in the median to prevent collisions. We asked that question. Turns out, it's not that simple. "Criteria has to be met. You have to take into consideration traffic volumes, accident data, different curvature of the road, and the aesthetics of the width of the highway. All kinds of things need to be taken into consideration," explained Cruz. 

Many people living near these roads also oppose the idea of expansion because they don't want to be living near a busy and noisy expressway. For now, Caltrans is trying to find a balance for our growing region. Cruz explained that the "population is increasing, so with that comes congestion."

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