Editorial

We can learn lessons from the horrific July 20 fatality that claimed the lives of five people near Telferner.

That fatality happened at a point many think is dangerous: where U.S. 59 North and northbound U.S. 59 Business both merge from two lanes to one before merging together.

A passenger van carrying 10 relatives from Brownsville was northbound on U.S. 59 in the left lane at the intersection with U.S. 59 Business when it struck a semitrailer that was northbound in the outside lane, according to officials.

The collision caused the driver of the van to lose control, cross over a grassy median and strike a southbound white Ford F-250 head-on.

Five people in the van died; seven others were injured.

If we look past the tragic nature of the accident, we can draw a few conclusions.

How safe is that intersection?

We encourage the state to take a hard look at that merge point. Is there adequate signage? Is the speed limit the same on both highways? Can a design be engineered to make it safer?

We also know that there have been at least 47 accidents there since 2010.

We all must have some individual accountability, too.

A lot of us have probably driven past that merge point hundreds of times without incident.

But that doesn’t account for a high percentage of out-of-town drivers who aren’t familiar with that area. So we must remain diligent and mindful that we are sharing our highways with people not accustomed to the ins and outs or the nooks and crannies.

“People who aren’t familiar with this traffic pattern can be caught off guard quickly with nowhere to go. I always yield to cars that get caught in that outside lane that ends quickly, just to avoid a wreck,” Victoria native Missy Madden Klimitchek told the Advocate. “It’s just not safe.”

Finally, we can get involved. Let your public officials know what you think about highways and roadways. We can also go to planning meetings and voice our concerns.

All the final details from this crash won’t be released until later this month, or perhaps early September.

We don’t have to wait until then, though, to make our own decisions on driving safety. There is no need for another tragic fatality or senseless accident.

This opinion reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate’s editorial board.

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