Road safety improvements on Highway 231

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FOUNTAIN, Fla. (WMBB) – The Bay County Sheriff’s Office is trying to improve safety and decrease traffic accidents on U.S. Highway 231.

There have recently been several deadly crashes near the intersection of 231 and County Highway 167.

Officials said it appears that one of the main issues is that when people on Highway 167 turn left to go south on Highway 231, they are not making it to the other side of the median and instead head south in the northbound lanes.

This scenario happened back in October when four people lost their lives in a wreck in that area.

“It’s a roadway that’s highly traveled,” Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford said. “People drive at higher speeds on that roadway and there’s also a lot of sideroads that come into that and so typically those situations, a lot of them involve alcohol when somebody comes off of a sideroad and goes in the opposite lane and it’s extremely dangerous when that occurs.”

This prompted Sheriff Ford to ask county and state transportation officials to get involved.

They have since placed signage around the intersection.

These reflective wrong-way signs will hopefully alert people they are going in the wrong direction and get off of the road before they cause another tragedy.

In the meantime, Sheriff Ford is pressing drivers to be aware.

“You also need to drive defensively,” Ford said. “As you go down the road, you can’t discount the fact that somebody could be drunk or get in those opposite lanes so be very defensive when you are driving, not looking at the phone that’s why it’s important to be very aware of your surroundings and look at what’s in front of you because if you see something coming in your direction if you are paying attention you can potentially pull over and avoid a terrible situation.”

Sheriff Ford said he believes Florida Department of Transportation officials are also working on addressing the lighting situation, as the area is dark making it difficult for drivers to see.

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