Most people who live in this area are used to the steep, crooked and pothole infested country roads. Of course, these kinds of roads are dangerous to those who are not paying attention and going too fast. But why do some roads seem more dangerous than others?
Many people may have noticed that Highway 395 has quite a few accidents every year. Last week, a girl lost control of her car and landed in a creek.
Salem Police Chief Albert Roork said, "There are two reasons why there are accidents on that road. One is that there is no shoulder." The other reason, Roork said, is that, "Whenever we've had hot weather, and then it rains, the road is really slick."
Roork said it's a dangerous highway where little engineering was involved. If drivers aren't paying attention, they could get hurt.
The same could be said for many other roads in the area. "I really don't think that road is any worse than others," Roork said.
The road just happens to be one that is well travelled, and that means more accidents. Roork said many travelers who come from Missouri traveling south on 395 are used to straighter roads, a higher speed limit and shoulders. Roork said, "There are more one vehicle accidents due to a lack of shoulder." If a driver swerves off the road, there's no chance to recover.
"That road is about 20 feet wide, so you're basically driving in a ten foot traffic lane," Roork said.
According to the Arkansas State Police, there have been 21 accidents on Highway 395 since 2006 with over half of them being one-car accidents. There has also been two fatalities within the past two years. So far for 2008, there have been six accidents on the highway.
If the road is so dangerous, why hasn't it been fixed? Roork said, "It's not going to happen within the next few years, at least."
Tommy Caudel at the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department office in Salem said the department might straighten the curve at Moko. Caudel said, "There's been some talk about doing something at Moko at the curve." But, there is no specific date that work will start.
Until some work is done to make the road safer, drivers are going to have to use caution when traversing Highway 395.