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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

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3/26/2014 11:24:00 AM
Cornville switchbacks an accident waiting to happen?
Photo by Vyto Starinskas
Photo by Vyto Starinskas

Jon Hutchinson
Staff Reporter


CORNVILLE -- Does it seem that there are more accidents in the Cornville switchbacks since the county has improved the roadway sections?

Perhaps motorists are not as cautious now that the road seems wider. The footprint is not actually wider from the rebuilding, but an important addition from the county project provided some shoulders that did not exist before, making the road safer from that single change.

Jerry Doerksen, the Verde Valley assistant chief for operations says perception does not always fit the reality once the details are in. That may be the case here as well, even though there has been one accident every month during the past five months in the switchbacks.

Yavapai County upgraded the road section through the switchback curves in December 2012, and one accident occurred during the construction period during the two-year survey.

Dwight D'Evelyn, spokesman for the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office, compiled a breakdown of the reported accidents in the switchbacks region over the two years period.

In fact, of the 14 accidents reported in that specific area, seven involved damage, six more were injury accidents. One event was a fatal accident that involved speed estimated at 80-100 mph.

Despite the speed in that accident, most were attributed to typical issues found in other locations.

Two of the accident reports proved to be unfounded with the vehicle not located, even though one accident, in late June 2013, was determined to be a DUI. Prescription pills were found during the investigation of two other accidents. As part of the investigation of another incident, the driver was reported to be swerving all over the road before the crash

One was a hit and run, with the driver fleeing after a damage accident. One accident was attributed to equipment failure.

Other accidents seem to be negligence occurring when the driver was "reaching for a purse," or "reaching for a phone."


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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Article comment by: Verde Valley resident

The problem is carelessness, and speed. My wife and I usually get tailgated all the way through the switchbacks, as the yo-yo's that are always in a hurry to go nowhere think they have something to prove. As far as we're concerned the only thing they are proving is what morons look and act like.

Posted: Monday, March 31, 2014
Article comment by: bryson nicabar

Drivers SHOULD behave responsibly, but many don't, and Honkey Tonk, there is nothing you can do to make them be responsible. But if some dots down the center would help the INATTENTIVE driver who has accidentally strayed to get back on the right side of the road before they hit someone, how can you be against that?

Yeah, so drivers should be responsible. Why bother with centerlines at all? The responsible ones will do the right thing. For that matter, what good are guard rails? Responsible people don't need them. Reflectors on the side of the road, yellow advisement signs, the white line on the side of the road all have a helpful purpose, and so do the dots.

Can anyone else come up with any positive suggestions?


Posted: Saturday, March 29, 2014
Article comment by: Honkey Tonk

Why would anyone think that the fault belongs to anyone other than the driver(s)? I personally drive this road at least 10 times a week for the last 20 years. There have always been 3 kinds of drivers. The fast and furious, the slow and stupid, and the regular law abiding driver. But over the last few years traffic has tripled so therefore yes there are more accidents. More signs are not going to change things either are the bumpy dots. Only drivers driving responsibly and PAYING ATTENTION to the road is going to help.

Posted: Saturday, March 29, 2014
Article comment by: bryson nicabar

"Other accidents seem to be negligence..."

It seems to me that some bumpy-dots down the center line might alert the inattentive drivers and help keep them off of the double yellow. As for others, I've noticed the problem of crossing the center line is worse after a weekend of nascar on tv.



Posted: Thursday, March 27, 2014
Article comment by: Bob Loblaw

I, along with several members of my family, drive this road every day without incident, other than the knuckleheads coming too fast from the opposite direction.

How about a sign after the second twist that says DANGEROUS CURVES AHEAD, followed by a second sign a few feet later that says SLOW DOWN!


Posted: Thursday, March 27, 2014
Article comment by: Slater Slater

Gotta be Mario Andretti ya know.Suppers on
the table go 4 it fool At least slow down for the baby in the oncoming cars.


Posted: Thursday, March 27, 2014
Article comment by: More Vineyards More Traffic

Too many people on what was once a less traveled local resident road, thats all.

Posted: Thursday, March 27, 2014
Article comment by: Scott Perry

The improved road is deceiving. Drivers think it can handle speed. The long straight away that heads into the switch backs is the big contributor. Most the accidents happen towards the top. Put some solar blinking lights "Switchbacks Ahead" or "20mph ahead" just the blinking lights with a squiggle sign will slow them down.

Posted: Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Article comment by: Split the road, Jack!

An upper lane in one direction, a lower lane in the other, and voilą!, no more head-on collisions. (Of course, you'd need a sign on the lower lane: "Watch for falling cars!")

Posted: Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Article comment by: Gary Dean

And redoing the road caused the accidents? How about the drivers? People drive more carelessly every day. Hey, how about going back to dirt roads? Then, everyone can say - we need to improve the roads>



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