Henderson is a small town with some big-city traffic problems. Citizens like Penny Collins are doing their part to fight back against them, but it’s an uphill battle unless elected officials and local-government administrators work shoulder to shoulder to help.

Collins recently asked the N.C. Department of Transportation to consider installing stop lights at two intersections, the most prominent one being the top of the southbound-lane exit ramp from U.S. 1 where it intersects Andrews Avenue.

Her concern about that intersection is valid. Without a light to create some openings in the traffic flow, the left turn off the ramp is a hard one during many parts of the day. And the sight lines there aren’t the best.

Collins has also asked for a stoplight and crosswalk at South Williams and East Winder streets near downtown, an intersection that has sightline problems of its own.

It remains to be seen how DOT and local officials respond to those requests, but our Facebook feed indicates that Collins isn’t the only resident out there with concerns and ideas.

We’ve heard about the need for better pavement striping on Ruin Creek Road, a light at the Satterwhite Road/Garnett Street intersection, concerns about the management of traffic behind Vance County Middle school, and worry about turns off N.C. 39 in the Williamsboro area.

And to no great surprise on our part, we’ve also heard about the need to “fix the blessed train tracks on Andrews Avenue,” meaning the uncomfortable-for-drivers humpback that contributes mightily to the traffic bottlenecks plaguing the city.

The tracks are but one of the configuration problems plaguing the Andrews corridor, as the slight jog in the road alignment at the Chestnut Street intersection causes more than its fair share of trouble and confusion also. It’s the sad truth that neither Andrews nor the Dabney Drive corridor function all that well, making east-west travel through the city a bit of a nightmare.

While specific locations and intersections like those we’ve mentioned might be safe, statistically, there’s evidence that Henderson and Vance County as a whole have more than their fair share of highway safety risks.

The county’s crash rate is 27% higher than the state average, and Henderson’s ranks 17th of out 86 North Carolina cities with populations of 10,000 or more.

Some of that undoubtedly reflects the influence of Interstate 85 and its high-speed traffic, but we suspect an analysis that filtered out the interstate’s numbers would still find a problem here.

It’d be a mistake to sit back and wait for DOT to take the lead on addressing it, not when the agency has statewide responsibilities and the operating division that watches over the Tri-County region, Division 5, has Wake County and Durham County in its purview as well.

But it’s going to take a proactive approach on someone’s part to get a handle on things, and that’s where local governments come in.

They have to take the lead in identifying specific safety needs and potential improvements, more systematically than has been done so far, and aggressively call them to DOT’s attention. Squeaky wheels get the grease, after all.

They have to remember also that a chorus of squeaks gets the grease even faster. Nothing serves to delay road projects of all sorts more surely than discord or disagreement about them at the local level. The Henderson City Council, the Vance County Commissioners and the local planning agency managed by the Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments have to work together on this thing.