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Drive Defensively

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It’s good to know that Virginia Department of Transportation officials are troubleshooting safety problems with Carroll County roads.

The problem in question has been on the 2,200-foot, steep incline on U.S. 58 in Woodlawn that’s known for hydroplaning accidents during thunderstorms.

It wasn’t just isolated incidents — 14 such accidents happened on that stretch of road in a two-year period.

Just imagine driving along westbound in a rainstorm and the tires slip, and in a split second the vehicle goes down an embankment.

It’s a driver’s nightmare.

Fortunately, the number of serious injuries did not match the number of accidents. There might have been more accidents there over the years, if it hadn’t been so dry.

So, two years ago, the Virginia Department of Transportation staff started applying for a federal grant to improve the situation.

And because the problem was quantifiable (with accident data) and the fix (to put in more drains and related improvements) was relatively affordable, the Hillsville VDOT Residency won the federal grant award.

Local transportation officials believe this will resolve the problem of vehicles losing traction and going out of control.

But, as drivers’ education instructors tried to drill into their students heads, it’s important to operate a vehicle cautiously.

Defensive driving, they called it.

So if knowledge is power, and drivers know to drive cautiously over that hilly portion of U.S. 58 where so many hydroplaning accidents have occurred, then that coupled with the road improvements should take care of the problem.

When it comes to safety, every little bit helps.