Effective Nov. 13, the intersection where Hwy. 76 meets Trinity Church Rd. and Dial Place Rd. has a 4-way stop. The new 4-way stop was implemented around 9:30am on Monday.
Nick Rebovich, SCDOT district traffic engineer, said the intersection was looked at as a safety project because of a high crash rate. He said the SCDOT Traffic Safety Office in Columbia saw the 4-way stop as a way to improve safety in the area.
Rebovich said that a crash analysis was conducted, looking at data from January 2012 to April 2017. During that time, there were 20 right angle crashes (t-bone crashes) at the intersection.
Federal guidelines look at traffic volume and crash occurrences and when an intersection has five or more right angle crashes during that time frame, they start looking at other options.
Rebovich said that the intersection does not meet the guidelines for a traffic light because it does not have a left turn lane. Without a turn lane, a traffic signal can cause traffic to back up as cars attempt to make a turn. Rebovich said a 4-way stop keeps the traffic flow moving because everyone goes when it is their turn.
According to Rebovich, officials will be reviewing how traffic is flowing with the 4-way stop and they will also be looking at obedience, to make sure everyone is stopping at the stop signs.
At this time, a 4-way stop is the only option for this intersection to curb the continued crash occurrences. Other options in the future could include a roundabout to slow traffic down and eliminate the possibility of right angle crashes.
Here are rules for a 4-way stop to keep traffic flowing smoothly safely:
1. First come, first served
The first car to arrive at the intersection receives the right of way. It doesn’t matter where the vehicle is located or what direction it is traveling, this rule will always apply when someone has clearly arrived at the stop sign first.
2. Straight over turning
When arriving to an intersection head-to-head with another vehicle, it is important to use signals. When two vehicles arrive at a 4-way stop at the same time, and they are located head-to-head and one of the vehicles intends to turn and the other intends to go straight, the vehicle going straight has right of way. Keep in mind that if both vehicles are going straight or turning in the same direction, they can both proceed at the same time as they will not cross each other’s path.
3. Right over left
When two vehicles arrive at a 4-way stop at approximately the same time, and they are located head-to-head and one of the vehicles intends to turn right and the other intends to turn left, the vehicle turning right has right of way. Move forward slowly before entering the intersection to indicate to other drivers you are making the turn. The driver turning left should wait until the other car has fully passed.