Ideas for keeping traffic, out of yard

lavender_lass(4b)November 18, 2011

Last Saturday night, a truck took a hard left (no curve in front of my house) at about 70 mph and hit both my vehicles, before crashing into my porch and bay window. I live on a farm and of the 80 acres we own (and four miles from the bar to his house) this guy decides to hit my house, almost exact center.

So, my question is, what would be a good choice to keep traffic out of our yard? We have a long driveway that curves, in front of the house and the house is about 80 feet from the road. We've been considering 8' railroad ties, buried on end (about 4' down) and spaced about 4' to 5' apart. They would be just past our driveway, on the road side. Any other ideas? We need to secure an area about 150' long. Thanks in advance :)

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How many times has this happened since you've been in the house or if you know, since the house has been built?

I'm not sure the time and expense would be worth it to prevent against a freak accident. May be worth making sure your insurance is up to date though.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 2:49PM
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catkim(San Diego 10/24)

I'm very sorry to hear you had this frightful experience, and I take it you and your family escaped with bodies intact? It's difficult to comprehend how this accident could have been anticipated since your house is 80 feet from the road, and there is no curve in the road in front of your house. It would take some special talent to find your front porch with a pickup in those circumstances. Tanowicki may be correct that it was a freak accident and unlikely to recur.

The vertically sunk railroad ties with reflectors attached might be effective, but quite an expense and effort, and, well, probably not something you want to look at. Is there a chance of planting a couple of rows of dense shrubbery along the edge of your property? The freeways in California are often planted with the very poisonous Oleander, which forms a dense barrier. We also see these sort of overside trash cans filled with sand -- I suppose they are somehow secured to the ground. Self defense is not often beautiful design...

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 3:22PM
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Thank you for the responses! It was a seemingly 'freak' accident, but now that it's happened...I don't want to see it ever happen, again. We were very lucky he hit our vehicles first, or he would have been in the middle of our living room. This happened on Saturday night at about midnight. That same time, the night before, I was sitting in that same spot. Scary...

As for how it looks, well the area between the driveway/pull in and the road is on a slight hill and we don't do anything with that part of the yard. It's mainly naturalized daffodils and tall grass/weeds, in the summer. I think it would hide whatever barrier we decide to put up, which would be behind the vehicles (from our viewpoint) anyway.

What I'd like to do is put up a fence, but my husband doesn't think that would slow anyone maybe the posts for now and a prettier fence (on our side of the driveway) later on.

Oh, and our insurance has been great! We live in a manufactured home, on a farm, next door to the old farmhouse, which we're hoping to eventually remodel. The only problem now...the porch and damage broke through the metal siding and skirting, under the home. Now, the barn kitties have gotten under the house...and a half hour ago, I had a little face meowing at me, through the vent, on the floor of the living room. My husband and his friend are underneath, sealing it up right now. I'll be glad when we get the insurance check (hopefully by Monday) so we can start repairs!

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 4:53PM
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I am not sure that you should take this upon yourself to fix ll I think a word with a lawyer might help. Just say you erect a barrier and someone drives into it as opposed to driving into your house and he dies, what might your liability be do you think? Speak to local authorities and keep copies of correspondence photographs etc. and take a patience pill. I am having a runaround over a traffic problem myself and so far I have discovered at least three government departments who are NOT responsible. But I do know that you cannot take the law into your own hands.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 6:16PM
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What about a selection of large, decorative boulders? Something about the size of a dorm fridge is more than adequate to stop a car or truck, and you'd need 1 ever 10' or so. So, 15-ish good size rocks. You could easily naturalize tons of daffodils in between them, and maybe some daylilies as well (if they survive zone 4, I think some do).

As for Ink's concern about your liability, I know the courts can do some really stupid things but if you have a rock garden 30' from the edge of the road and some drunk plows their car into it and hurts themselves ... Well geez, I had a drunk hurt their car pretty badly when they creamed our mailbox years ago and oddly I wasn't considered at fault. That was a wooden post located a scandalous 2' from the edge of the road. If that is really a risk then NO ONE would have those granite posts as mail box posts, and they are pretty popular in new neighborhoods (and less than 5 feet from the road).

In New England we've had rock walls along the sides of roads forever, many times within 6' of the road, and no one's ever been sued because someone's car slipped on an icy road and hit the wall. Believe me, it would be in the papers because so many people have them in their yards.

If you like the idea of a rock wall (or wall of big rocks) then you could ask local excavators what do they do when they have big rocks they pull out of the ground - do they need a place to put them? You might get lucky.

I'd love to say that you're over-reacting to a freak accident, but then I've never had a vehicle plow into my house so it's sort of hard for me to judge.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 9:02PM
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GF has a place in AZ on the river & she only goes to it few times a year. Well, everybody & their brother was parking on her property outside her fence, fences have to be 10 or so ft. back from the road. They finally rammed her fence & she asked me if I had any ideas, I said rocks every 5-6 ft so they can't park between them or pull up between them, She got a guy to bring them from a quarry & end of problem. I think she said it was cheaper than cost to fix the fence.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 12:04AM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

Add my vote in for some rocks for instant protection. You can leave a couple bare, a low maintenance garden near one, paint your address on another, plant vines near a couple more. Just try to come up with some artistic staggered pattern. In between I would plant a couple faster growing trees. Washington is foreign to me and I guess to be zone 4 you are inland a bit?

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 10:39AM
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marquest(z5 PA)

I am sorry to hear you had such a fright night. I think you are absolutely on the right track to think of some type of protection. Just because it happened has given you a warning that next time could be you or your families life taken. It is like buying insurance you may not need it now but it can save your life.

Another vote for boulders. I would think they would be more secure than the railroad ties. I have seen large pickups go over those ties.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 11:00AM
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botann(z8 SEof Seattle)

I got a call one time from a lady who lived on a corner with nothing but lawn except up near the house. Every once in a while a kid would jump the curb and drive across her lawn. She wanted some flower beds put in along the curb to discourage this. I put in some trees and shrubs and some microwave size boulders.
A few months later I got a call from her. Some kid had run up into a bed and hit a boulder and ripped open his oil pan.
It's not what you think. The kid was taking his driver's test, trying to parallel park, and stepped on the gas instead of the brake while backing up. He and the examiner had to walk back. The kid's father paid my bill to restore it, oil spill and all.
I doubt he got his license that day.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 6:52PM
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"microwave size boulders", your input is always a pleasure Mike. I can see the examiner with his clipboard pissed as hell walking back,did they walk side by side I wonder? That kid might even have to change his name before his next test.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 7:09PM
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botann(z8 SEof Seattle)

Thanks Ink.
Coming from you, it's appreciated. Thank you.
They had to walk about six blocks. I can just imagine the scene when he walked up to the station with the examiner and had to explain what happened to his father and his father's car. Poor kid.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 4:22AM
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