Wichita’s roads are more dangerous than Johnson County’s. Here are the five worst spots

Many crashes in Wichita in 2023 happened at intersections. The trend matches a local study by the Wichita Area Metropolitan Planning Organization.

by Trace Salzbrenner

Nearly every day, vehicles collide at one of five Wichita intersections. Three of those locations fall along Kellogg Drive.

In all, the city saw more than 10,000 crashes last year. And although Johnson County, Kansas, is home to about 80,000 more people, Sedgwick County traffic accidents killed and injured more people and caused more costly damage.

Where are the most car crashes in Wichita?

The Wichita intersections with the most crashes in 2023 were: 

  • Kellogg Drive and South Rock Road, with 99 crashes. 
  • Kellogg Drive and South Seneca Street, with 81 crashes. 
  • Kellogg Drive and South Broadway Avenue, with 45 crashes. 
  • East 21st Street and North Woodlawn Boulevard, with 36 crashes. 
  • West 29th Street and North Maize Road, with 36 crashes.

The accidents all happened in or very close to the intersections. 

In 2023, the intersection of East Kellogg Drive and South Rock Road had the most accidents, due to high traffic and multiple on- and off-ramps.

The Wichita Area Metropolitan Planning Organization looked over 10 years of data and found that the intersection of West Kellogg Drive and South Broadway Street had the most fatal accidents over that time.

The intersections have one thing in common — high traffic volumes.

Why do car crashes happen in Wichita? 

Intersections are inherently dangerous. Traffic is crossing paths and changing speeds. The Federal Highway Administration reports that more than 50% of fatal or injury-inducing car accidents occur at intersections.

“Crashes at intersections often involve rear-end collisions from inattentive driving,” city spokesperson Megan Lovely said in an email, passing along information given to her by the city’s traffic engineer. “And, side-impact collisions from failure to yield the right-of-way.”

WAMPO found the most common reason for a collision in Wichita is a right-of-way violation — such as not yielding when you are supposed to or turning from the wrong lane — with 16% of crashes happening this way. The next most common cause is distracted driving, at 13%. 

WAMPO also identified following too closely, driving too quickly and improper lane changes as frequent causes for accidents in Sedgwick County and Wichita  — all of which are worse at intersections. 

Crashes are a particularly acute problem in Sedgwick County.

In 2023, WAMPO commissioned a study comparing traffic collisions in Sedgwick County to those in more populous Johnson County. Sedgwick County had more fatal collisions, had more that resulted in injuries and had to spend more money on crashes. 

“There’s about eight or nine different measurements, and again, we were worse, drastically worse, on every one of those,” Sedgwick County Commissioner Jim Howell told KSN after the release of the study. 

What is being done to reduce crashes?

Lovely said the city engineer’s office reviews top crash locations to explore whether the city can improve signage, traffic signals, signal timing, equipment, lighting or roadway markings.

This article was republished here with the permission of: The Beacon