As an equestrian community, we have a myriad of unique crosswalks and trail crossings. The crossing at the Equestrian Center has flashing beacons to warn drivers while other crossings have signage and white painted triangles on the pavement delineating the crossing. Still, other crossings have warning signage but no painted markings on the street. The next time you drive through the community, please take note of where the crossings are and the different kinds of crossing identification between your home and where you normally exit or enter the community. Keep the following in mind as you drive:
- Expect to see a horse or pedestrian using the crossing. Even if you rarely see the crossing used, expecting to see a horse or pedestrian will result in a safer speed. Notice in the above photo the car going through the crossing in front of the Equestrian Center while the beacon lights were flashing.
- Slow down and stop well before the crossing if possible and be patient allowing the horse to completely cross. A car passing close behind a horse midway through a crossing can cause it to startle. Horses are flight animals and can bolt forward or sideways at high speed and often into the street when startled.
- Be aware of your speed! Look for “Watch Downhill Speed” signs. When descending some of our steep streets it takes definitive braking to maintain 25 MPH. When ascending, you need extra power to get up the hill and that sometimes translates into higher speeds especially once the grade changes to level. Be aware of your speed.
- Be aware of your site lines as you drive through the community. Change speed according to curves, elevation changes, the number of cars parked on the street, and especially proximity to crossings and parks.
- Do you have traffic safety signs in front of your home? Is your home on a corner? Look for tree branches or other landscaping that may block or partially block crossing signs, street signs, speed limit signs or lighting. Look at the signs from the perspective of a driver and maintain your landscape accordingly.
Human nature is to increase awareness when we are in unfamiliar places. Unfortunately, that translates to a false sense of security when we drive through our own community. Signs and speed are often filtered out of our consciousness.
Let’s all commit to a renewed focus on safety in the Nellie Gail Ranch Community. Try teaching your children and make it more fun for yourself by making a game of locating the different traffic signs or being the first to spot a horse.