Vehicular Discombobulation

Perhaps it’s just an accident of perception, but I’ve noticed that vehicles don’t act “quite right” after a panic stop.  Friday night on the way back from the range I was almost in an accident at 1709 (Keller Parkway) and Keller-Smithfield road.  It’s a dangerous intersection due to the fact that the left-turn lanes are slightly offset (similar to 1709 and Rufe Snow), which means that people turning from 1709 onto Keller-Smithfield don’t always see traffic in the oncoming inside lane (especially if there is a vehicle waiting in the oncoming left turn lane).

Someone in a Suburban who was turning North onto Keller-Smithfield pulled out in front of me just as I was approaching the intersection.  The speed limit there is 45-mph, so a full speed collision would have been pretty messy*.  Fortunately, I hit the brakes as hard as I could (I felt the antilock system pulsing) and the other driver floored it to get out of my way.  Between those two actions we missed having a collision by just a couple of feet.  But afterwards I noticed that the engine wasn’t running quite right until I was a block or so away.  I wonder if the sudden G-forces of the deceleration had an effect on the fuel system?

Anyhow, what irks me is that I had absolutely nowhere to go without hitting someone in this situation.  There was another car in the oncoming left turn lane, so even if I could have somehow gone over the curb (the lanes are divided at this point) without losing control I couldn’t have gone there.  And to top it off, some idiot in another Suburban decided this would be a good time to turn right onto 1709 from Keller-Smithfield (i.e. I was in the left lane and he turned into the right lane).  If I had hit the first Suburban, I guarantee I would have pushed it into the second one, compounding the carnage. 

The problem with these two intersections and people turning left seems to be pretty commonplace.  It seems that there is at least one serious accident at either intersection every month (that I have personally come across—I don’t know the actual stats).  Whoever designed these intersections made them look pretty (like everything else in the silly Keller “master plan”), but they’re very dangerous.  Until they’re redesigned, the simple solution would seem to be to allow left turns only on a green arrow.  But I doubt that that change would get made, since people would complain about having to wait two or three minutes for the turn signal.

I’ve always been wary of these intersections, to the point of slowing down slightly if someone was waiting to turn from the oncoming direction.  I’m not sure how much more wary I can be without stopping completely, but I suppose this is a good reminder to be especially cautious at these intersections.

*  My Avalanche has a curb weight of 5600-lbs and the Suburban is listed at 5200-lbs.  Advantage: Avalanche, by a nose.  However, I suspect a broadside hit to the Suburban would probably negate a lot of the advantages of its weight.  Regardless, I’d prefer to avoid such unplanned vehicular meetings if at all possible.

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