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Galax drivers cautioned about 4-way stops

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By SHAINA STOCKTON
Staff

The traffic lights at intersections on Jefferson Street in downtown Galax are in the process of being removed and replaced with four-way stops, and the city is reminding drivers of some rules of the road to avoid accidents.
Since Oct. 1, three out of the four lights have been taken down and replaced with stop signs. The final light will be down soon, if not by the time you read this.
City Manager Keith Barker explained that the stop lights were outdated to the point where replacement parts are no longer manufactured.
A report also showed that the traffic flow on Jefferson Street  — which runs parallel to Main Street — only averages around two cars per minute. Barker said this shows that the lights were not really needed in that area.
The four intersections along Jefferson Street will be converted to four-way stops, so it is important to remember proper road etiquette. According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles handbook, all vehicles must come to a stop at these intersections. It also says that "if you get to the intersection at the same time as other vehicles, the driver on the left must yield to the driver on the right."
To help prevent any vehicle accidents, officials have taken several precautions to notify drivers of these changes. Stop lights are bagged before they are taken down, and hanging stop signs are placed for a short time.
Police cars have been parked at the intersections for a short time after the change to alert approaching drivers.
Also, the lines on the road have been repainted to make them brighter.