Evan Thompson / The Record — An advanced warning sign recently installed by the Washington Department of Transportation will activate whenever someone is waiting to turn left onto Coles Road.

Warning sign installed near Coles Road

  • Wednesday, October 18, 2017 6:00am
  • News

An advanced warning sign recently installed by the Washington Department of Transportation could help prevent rear-end collisions from happening near a South Whidbey road.

The warning sign is located just off the road of the southbound traffic lane on Highway 525 near Coles Road. The sign, which is not yet operational, will activate whenever a vehicle is waiting to turn left and is resting on a weighted sensor beneath the road.

“It’s trying to give folks an advance warning,” Andrea Petrich said, the department’s public information officer. “…This is to assist. We still need drivers who are paying attention and following at safe distances.”

Another sign is also expected to be installed near Double Bluff Road. The signs are in response to repeated collisions at the two roads, Petrich said. While it’s not considered a high level of crashes on the roads, Petrich said there have been “more than we’d like to see.”

“If folks aren’t paying attention, this is something we can do to get the drivers to stay focused and tell them that something might be changed ahead,” Petrich said.

According to the Island County Sheriff’s Office, there have been 28 collisions at Highway 525 and Double Bluff and 13 at Highway 525 and Cole Road since January 2013, not counting any that went “directly” to the Washington State Patrol.

“The ‘typical’ crashes for those areas are rear-end collisions,” Detective Ed Wallace wrote in an email Monday afternoon.

The most recent was a rear-end collision on Sept. 27 on Highway 525 near Coles Road, which resulted in two people being transported to WhidbeyHealth.

By comparison, Highway 525 and Maxwelton Road had eight crashes since January 2013. Highway 20 and Ault Field in Coupeville had an even higher total — 66 — while Highway 20 and South Main Street had 62.

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