J-Turns Not Popular Among Some Drivers Despite Safety Improvements

3 years 11 months 3 weeks ago Tuesday, December 24 2013 Dec 24, 2013 Tuesday, December 24, 2013 1:20:00 PM CST December 24, 2013 in News
By: KOMU 8 Reporter, Marissa Balmas
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COLUMBIA - A new study released by the University of Missouri shows some drivers are still unsure about J-turns despite the improved safety.

MoDot began adding J-turns in the State of Missouri in 2007 and have continued to add them as recently as 2012. the J-turns in Columbia were constructed as a part of MoDOT's Route 63 and H interchange project. 

John Miller is the traffic safety engineer for MoDot's Central Office. He said they wanted to know if the J-turns were working from a safety perspective. 

The study showed overall there were safety improvements. The addition reduced fatal crashed by 100 percent and cut injury crashes in half.  The addition also showed an angle reduction, eliminating the chance of a t-bone crash. 

Miller said MoDot wanted to begin installing the J-turns to reduce the angle collision, or t-bone crash caused by a cross over movement. 

Miller said, "The design is built literally to eliminate that potential. So we're not putting them in for really many reasons other than reduction of those types of collisions, which are really severe." 

The proper way to conduct a J-turn is to merge into the added deceleration lane until drivers come to the turn. At that point drivers make a safe u-turn maneuver and accelerate to the speed of traffic. Then merge into traffic and continue down the road. 

Despite the evidence that shows the major safety benefits of the addition of the J-turns, some driver are still not in favor of them. 

John Miller said that most of the complaints he hears come from the fact that it is a bit of an inconvenience. 

He said, "Again your making someone go right to go left and that just seems odd to people."

The survey conducted by the university showed peoples general concerns were merging difficulty after the U-turn, insufficient U-turn radius to accommodate large vehicles, and  general driver uncertainty and improper use of acceleration and deceleration lanes.

Moving forward Modot hopes to continue to add j-turns. They are planning to add one in the Atlanta, Missouri area at Highway 63. They are also discussing adding one in Clark, Missouri. 

 

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