Danger On Route 4, Your Help Is Needed

May 21, 2013

in News

It’s time for the public to speak out on the Route 4 Safety issue. Your voice should be heard. Comment below and share your opinions with the appropriate officials.

Any idea, large or small might just be the one to help alleviate this serious situation. Lots of voices on this problem are bound to reach the ears of the right decision-makers.

In Wake Of Accident, Route 4 Changes Will Take Time

Accidents On Route 4 In Recent Weeks:
Texting Blamed For An Accident In Quechee Thursday
Two dead in Quechee Accident
Hartland Woman Dead In Tractor-Trailer Accident In Taftsville
Bridgewater Woman Dead In West Woodstock Accident


To leave thoughts or ideas for improvement, please comment below.

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

karl May 29, 2013 at 7:02 am

If memory serves, the state has offered two separate solutions over the past 30 or so years. One was a very ambitious Woodstock bypass and the other was a proposal for a widening, straightening, and a middle passing lane. Neither proposal met with the necessary approval from folks along the route. The first for obvious reasons of major disruptions north of town along the new route and the second for fear of “another route 89″. We can not blame the state.

Like many of theose who have commented, I have travelled from Woodstock to NH daily since 1981. What has changed?
Inattention.
I see someone stray across the center line all too frequently. Sometimes multiple times in the span of a mile. I see drivers texting while driving through the village. I see drivers roll right through pedestrian cross walks (with people crossing) because they are too wrapped up in their phone conversation to notice.
I would love to see an improved route 4 but would prefer it if people would focus on driving.

Doug H. May 26, 2013 at 6:29 pm

I live on rt. 4 in west woodstock, i have lived here for 6 years now. I live right in one of the passing zones which happens to be 55 m.p.h. EVERY SINGLE DAY i watch people rev up and pass by my house passing a line of 1-10 vehicles, i watch people begin passing well before the marked passing zone on a corner, and i watch people pass turning vehicles on a narrow shoulder barely slowing from the posted speed limit of 55 m.p.h. I HAVE ALMOST BEEN HIT HEAD ON 4-5 TIMES, PULLING OUT OF MY DRIVEWAY,by people passing a line of several vehicles who were doing close to the marked speed limit. My wife has experienced the same situation 3-4 times. Every night as i watch t.v. i see the familiar flicker of blue lights,anywhere from 1-6 times a night,as the police pulled someone over in front of the resteraunt next door to my house for speeding. Fact of the matter is MAYBE THE SPEED LINIT NEEDS TO BE DROPPED TO 40 M.P.H. ON ALL OF RT. 4! I drive the roads of V.T. and N.H. for my job as an installer, i spend 5-8 hours a day 6 days a week driving these roads, i see alot of “NEAR MISSES AND CLOSE CALLS”. I drive rt. 4 everysingle day, and i am NEVER comfortable or relaxed driving any portion of this road, especially this year! There have been over 12 people (MOST OF WHOM WERE FRIENDS OF MY WIFES FAMILY) who have lost their lives on this road between killington and hartford.Maybe a serious increasee in police prescence,lowered speed limits,dissappearance of the passsing zones from hartford and killington,and posting loss of life counts will save lives. But most of all it comes down to drivers paying attention to driving, not their phones, foliage,and how quickly they can get to the mountain! DRIVERS NEED TO PAY ATTENTION TO DRIVING, STOP BEING IN SUCH A HURRY ,AND FOLLOW THE RULES OF THE ROAD!!!

Code Taylor May 26, 2013 at 6:10 am

It’s a road that has been about the same since I first remember driving it in the mid 1960′s. It might have been a little dangerous to the people riding horses and wagons when it was first being established but in my time it’s just been another Vermont road.
The danger is the people using the road. And how can we protect ourselves from the dangerous drivers? Build a eight foot wall down the center of the road to keep the traffic where it belongs? Lower the speed limit to 10 MPH ( sometimes in the winter you have to go that slow to be safe ).
I drive from Woodstock across RT. 4 into NH to work 5 days a week
and thank God I have not been involved in an accident.
I feel that lower speed limits will cause more accidents because some people, who are in a hurry, will try to pass others who are driving the speed limit where it’s not safe to pass. This has caused accidents in the past with the current speed limits.
Whats the solution ? For everyone to drive safely in respect to the road conditions.
Unfortunately there is no solution to the problem of people with uncontrolled minds!

Weekend Warrior May 26, 2013 at 12:27 am

Post signs (lots of them) on the road saying “14 (whatever number) people have died on this road since 2010 (whatever year) Don’t be number 15. Slow down & pay attention!”
I spend many weekends at my home second home off of RT 4. I have to say I am more afraid to drive on RT 4 than I am to drive on 91, 84 or 95 with 4 lanes of traffic doing 60 + mph. I have always wondered why the one police car sits sort of hidden off of RT 4 and only ever seems to be ticketing out of state drivers when I see an equal number of in state drivers driving far faster and far worse because they know where the police officer hides! I know visibility of a police car does promote people to pay attention to their driving, so come on out of the bushes!

pamela crossley May 24, 2013 at 11:47 am

nice suggestion. encouraging people to take responsibility and use common sense is probably the only really effective approach.

seatbelts reduce accidents/reduce the severity of accidents by keeping the driver in the seat and possibly in control of the car. whatever happens to the driver, the danger injury or death to other people is radically increased when the driver is thrown out of the seat. people who think seatbelts are a private choice that endangers nobody but themselves simply aren’t thinking about what happens in an accident.

Slow & Steady May 23, 2013 at 2:50 pm

No matter what the speed LIMIT is, I believe we were all taught to slow down based on road conditions, weren’t we? We do it in the snow and ice. We need to when it’s dry and clear, too.
Potholed, bumpy, and curvy is the norm whether it is Route 4, Route 12 or any dirt road because of the frost heaves, buckling, potholes, and washboards caused by the weather and topography.
I like Denise Zera’s idea of more, very clear warning signage however my suggestion is, “Respect the Old Roads of Vermont. Drive Slowly and Carefully.”

FearOf4 May 22, 2013 at 2:02 pm

Can Woodstock and Hartford join forces and bring a lawsuit against the state of VT?

The state knows this is a dangerous road yet has made zero effort to fix the problems; if a private company allowed such a condition to occur it would be sued for liability. Why should the state knowingly offer a service that is dangerous without assuming liability?

Compare this to when anti-gun people plead for new gun laws after a mass shooting, they insist that “IF it saves the life of just one child, a new law is worth it” however in this case, we know that fixing RT4 would save lives, but unlike passing a new law, fixing the road would cost $$$$$ so it doesn’t get done.

The state of VT sells itself as a tourist destination, and its common to see bicyclist here on vacation riding in the car lane as no shoulder for bikers or walkers exists on many sections of Rt4.

As it looks now, the state will take years to study the problem (which has existed for 20-30 years), and maybe someday fix it after consultants, planners, and engeneers have spent (pocketed) millions of dollars to study the problem.

At least adding rumble strips would be a step in the right direction; lowering the speed limit and having more cops writing tickets would be another positive step.

Denise Zera May 22, 2013 at 3:58 am

After the unfortunate deaths of Corey Daniels and a Woodstock woman, in a very similar discussion, I wrote “Unfortunately these are not the first fatalities that Rte 4 has claimed, and sadly they won’t be the last. My question is how many more senseless loss of lives is it going to take before something is done to deter them?” Never did I imagine the answer being, too many and too soon.
I also travelled Rte 4 for work, twice daily for over a year and I was petrified each and every day. I witnessed all the scenarios as all of the above with the only exception being I have seen Hartford Police patrolling and pulling vehicles over.
I think the rumble bars are a great idea and needs to be implemented immediately, not after months of discussions or studies!! I also believe lowering the speed limit would be helpful, there are parts of that road unsuitable for 50 mph. Lastly, I have been thinking that putting a few, very visible signs along both sides of the road stating the death toll or some type of graphic message that would grab a drivers attention to stay focused would be brilliant!! However, I then realised that Woodstock and Quechee, both have prestigious images to uphold and perhaps some thought provoking graphic signs may not fit those standards. But then again, I doubt that front page headlines of smashed cars screaming “Death”, does that prestigious image very good either.

At the end of the day my question still remains “How many more senseless fatalities is it going to take before something is going to be done to deter them?

scott macdonald May 21, 2013 at 11:49 pm

So, how does lack of seatbelt use cause accidents? Does a seatbelt make you drive any slower? i am just wondering, because this is mentioned in a few previous comments. If you provide a nice wide, smooth road, people will go even faster. The problem isnt the road, its the drivers. Sure, everyone likes a nice, freshly paved road, but that wont change the fact that 89 leads from mass, exit 1 leads to killington, and somewhere between mass and killington, common sense just seems to disappear!

Bea May 21, 2013 at 10:05 pm

Too many and too large trucks. The road is a major state highway. The trucks go way too fast. Then there are locals who use it as a neighborhood road. The combination is lethal.

Sheila Warren May 21, 2013 at 8:25 pm

Route has always been a bad road because it is also a truck route. The road definitely needs to be widened to accommodate the traffic using it and it is also in need of repair. Another bad spot is the 4 way crossing in Quechee, as there have been many accidents there also. I have lived here all my life and it is very hard to cross there especially with the traffic going through there now. I would like to see a Stop light there instead of the caution light that is there now as it would stop a lot of the accidents. They are happening because people are taking chances trying to cross, pulling out or trying to turn. Yes there are also a lot of people out there texting and driving and it may have been the case with a few of the accidents lately but not all of them. Route 4 is a real winding road and there are some days when it is either really foggy from the river or the sun is directly in your eyes and maybe the rumble strips would also help in that case too. It also wouldn’t hurt to have the lines painted more often since they are barely visible. Being the only way to get there from here, people have to travel the road. Everyone should stay focused and slow down and put the cell phones away until you get to your destination. There is nothing more important than saving someone’s life, and it could be your own you are saving by keeping the cell phone put away or just paying attention.

Linda Jacobs May 21, 2013 at 7:04 pm

I do not think lowering the speed less than 45 will matter at all. No one drives that now and they ce3rtainly will not drive less. The road needs major work for certain, but we all know our State doesn’t have money for such things. So lets have a new smooth top and rumble strips down the center of the road which will alert someone if they are on the center line or over it. I drive it every day myself from Hathaway Road only and have had many scares myself…this week from a tractor trailer over the center line.

pamela crossley May 21, 2013 at 6:49 pm

the road is narrow but there are many narrower. its condition is poor, and it needs spot fixing. i agree that the primary problem is driver irresponsibility. there is no big problem driving on the outer right third, but you need to pay a lot of attention, including to the rear view mirrors showing the outer roadline and shoulder. drivers who hug the center line or cross it because they don’t want to bother with watching the shoulder are making a profound mistake on a road where there is literally no room for error. with barriers on both sides, or a barrier on one side and drop-off on the other, you cannot escape a driver coming the opposite direction and making the same mistakes. unfortunately, drivers of hefty pick-ups, panel trucks and big rigs do not bother with the challenge of keeping to the left by slowing down, looking sharp, and keeping in their own lane. i see them cross the center line all the time on their outside turns. not for all, but for many, the evident attitude is that the bigger vehicles have the right of way, and smaller vehicles must yield or suffer the consequences. the bigger vehicles should be more vigilant, and there should be police on the lookout to inculcate these values in particular.

NS May 21, 2013 at 5:10 pm

The road needs major work, no doubt, but the major problem is distracted drivers. You can double the width of the road and people will still find a way to crash. As far as a police presence… not the best of ideas, driving down the road is dangerous enough, now imagine you’re the police officer getting out of your car on a traffic stop on a hairpin turn with no shoulder. Put the rumble strips in. Lower the speed limit all you want too, because we know everyone follows the limits, ha.

KBL May 21, 2013 at 4:07 pm

Why did it take the loss of life in the last 10 weeks on Route 4 to get people talking about rumble strips and repairing the road? Should have been taken care long before those accidents. Just riding from Bridgewater to White River is scary!!!! It is not “if” it happens again,
but when and it will.

Charlie English May 21, 2013 at 2:25 pm

We live in Taftsville and have seen all the above over the years. Improving the road and rumble strips are good ideas. However, the Town Of Bridgewater has managed to get the speed limit reduced to 40MPH. They also have a contract with the Sheriff’s Dept. which adds to the tax revenue. I for one would be in favor of that from Woodstock to I89.

Sheryl Trainor May 21, 2013 at 1:03 pm

I drive Rte 4 between Quechee and Woodstock regularly and find that I have keep my attention focused on what oncoming cars and trucks are doing. Too often I see their eyes focused down toward their laps. I have even seen someone reading a newspaper! I think there definitely needs to be more of a police presence on that road, and fines for distracted driving need to be given for first offenses. Then turn attention to repair and widening of the road. This old, narrow road does not allow for many second chances. And the press needs to publicize the cause of all of these accidents and fatalities. Maybe that will cause drivers to think twice before they look at their phones.

SD May 21, 2013 at 12:36 pm

I think most of the accidents are due to driver error’s…I.E. not wearing seat belts, texting/using phones or any kind of electronic device, speeding…etc…My husband drives this road daily to Rutland and he himself will admit that he might speed cause he’s late which now he leaves earlier in the day to allow for the stops and goes of the small towns. No one is a saint but I for one think that the rumble strips is a great idea, But fix the roads first…they are so bumpy, have lots of holes, and cracks, which make you want to ride more towards the center line….the road needs to be fixed…having a better shoulder/breakdown lane….More patrols of cops from the towns. We pay taxes..why isn’t there better patrol coverage from Hartford to Woodstock? But most of all educating the drivers to be more cautious…allow for extra time, put your damn phone down or get a $20 hands free/blue tooth ear piece if you have to talk on it that bad, wear your seat belt and most of all slow down, You’d make sure your kids, friends kids, nieces, nephews, grand kids, and even great grand kids were doing this. You should be too. Over all it’s common sense.

PB May 21, 2013 at 12:18 pm

I drive route 4 often from Rutland to DHMC, and yes what others have said above is true: inattentive drivers certainly contribute. However, like the article says parts the highway date to 1928 underneath years of procrastination and band-aid fixes by the state. It is unfortunate that the state has chosen to put price tags before people. Like much of the infrastructure in the state when it was built back in the 1920′s it was state-of-the-art, now it’s just dangerous! We all realize the roads in Burlington and Montpelier are paved in gold, while the rest of us who live in 90% of the rest of the state play dodge ball with frostheaves, potholes, and each other. Hopefully that 6% gas tax hike is put to good use at saving lives rather than rainy days funds. As I see it the rain is here and it’s time for Montpelier to put its money where its mouth is and take care of the citizens is proclaims to care about!! (And that means also taking care of the 90% of us who don’t live in Burlington or Montpelier)

Briana DeGruttola May 21, 2013 at 10:54 am

Danger on Rt. 4 overwhelmingly comes from driver error. People don’t take the time to put their phone down, put their seat belt on, pay attention, etc. Yes, there are portions that need some rehabilitation, but it does not need to be radically remodeled as some are calling for. Throwing money at the ‘problem’ of Rt. 4 without first identifying the heart of the issue is just a waste of taxpayer’s money.

David Morin May 21, 2013 at 10:33 am

The lack of a shoulder and the broken, sunken state of the outside 3rd of much of the road surface is what “forces” drivers closer to the center line. This exacerbates the already dangerous prevalence of inattentive drivers and creates a deadly situation with little space to correct mistakes before they turn deadly.

Given the traffic on that road, and it’s importance to VT tourist areas, it’s overall condition is just inexcusable.

I like the idea of center line rumble strips as an interim measure, but the roadbed itself needs major work that a fresh skim of blacktop won’t fix. Long term, the road needs proper fixing and more shoulder space. A lower speed limit might also have to be considered.

SW May 21, 2013 at 10:10 am

A band-aid fix may be to have more police presence. There are too many cars driving too fast and drivers that are not paying attention. I drive Route 4 daily and feel like I’m constantly dodging cars that are swerving into my lane. Having an officer giving out speeding tickets may be a start and force people to slow down and pay attention. I have never seen police ticketing drivers on Route 4 between Woodstock and Quechee.

Phil Camp May 21, 2013 at 9:57 am

As a community it is everyones responsibility to speak up and take action when we see a problem that needs addressing. With our combined efforts and insistence it is my hope that we can urge action to make Route 4 safe.
– Phil Camp, Publisher, Vermont Standard

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