In recent years, several high-profile fatal accidents have occurred around a sharp bend along Highway 6 between Marlin and Riesel, Texas. Traffic-related fatalities along the bend, commonly referred to as Dead Man’s Curve, have caused increased awareness and outrage from local residents. In response to the increased attention from media, law enforcement, and other individuals, Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) officials have taken several measures to improve traffic safety.
Accidents on State Highway 6
Prior to action from TxDOT, several traffic-related fatalities occurred on the stretch of Highway 6 in recent years. This includes a June 2019 accident where a Baylor University football player’s vehicle collided with another car, resulting in a fatality. Additionally, a Falls County Sheriff’s Office Deputy died after being struck by a vehicle on Dead Man’s Curve in October 2019. Riesel Police Chief Danny Krumnow was also struck in the same incident and was transferred via helicopter to receive emergency medical services.
In addition to the recent deaths, many non-fatal accidents occur on the stretch of Highway 6 during rainy or wet roadway conditions. Warnings issued from local police offers reveal that as many as 6 accidents have occurred during one rainy day. Local residents have also alleged that a large percentage of accidents go unreported to local and state officials for several reasons, including cases where no injuries or damage was sustained by motorists.
Safety Adjustments Added
Following a series of accidents on Highway 6, the Texas Department of Transportation added over $40,000 of warning signs signaling passengers to slow down ahead of the sharp curve in the road. The stretch of road was also resurfaced in the Spring of 2020 to improve traction. TxDOT officials reported that plans to improve the roadway have been in development since 2018. Some recent new implementations include the routine application of a sealcoat and intentions to conduct a roadway speed study to further identify potential safety solutions.
Many local residents and traffic safety experts welcome the additional safety features put into place by the TxDOT. However, some critics argue that the road safety measures should have been added years earlier when the first fatalities began to be reported. Some local residents have speculated that earlier implementation of safety features may have reduced the amount of fatalities and accidents that have occurred on the highway.
Best Practices to Prevent Traffic Accidents
There are many safe driving best practices that motorists could implement to reduce the likelihood of becoming involved in a roadway accident. Reducing the speed of your vehicle before entering a curve in the road could give a driver more control over their car. Many safe driving experts recommend that drivers adhere to suggested speed limits when available.
Similarly, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA), drivers should slow down and increase the distance between other vehicles while driving in rain or other wet conditions. Similarly, AAA advises against using cruise control or similar features in wet conditions to prevent the loss of traction while driving.