(and what you can do to stay safe on the roads!)
Staying safe on the roads is a combination of several things: when you drive, how you drive, and where you drive. And no matter what, you need a healthy dose of good luck because you never know what crazy things other drivers are up to.
Where you drive is not usually the first factor people think about when it comes to road safety. But in fact, some intersections are much more dangerous to drive through than others, and ICBC keeps track of all that information from around the province. Perhaps not surprisingly, most of the high-risk intersections are in the Lower Mainland, connecting on- and off-ramps from the Trans Canada Highway.
In an effort to increase public awareness for road safety, ICBC’s stats are a useful tool in helping drivers make informed decisions about where to drive and what to avoid. Unfortunately, the information shows a rise in crashes. In 2015, there were 80,000 crashes at intersections in Metro Vancouver, up from 67,000 in 2014; 48,000 people were injured in 2015 alone. Those are staggering numbers.
The worse intersections are:
- Brunette Ave off the Trans-Canada Highway
- Trans-Canada Highway & Willingdon Ave
- Knight St & SE Marine Dr
- Boundary Rd & Grandview Highway
- Broadway St & Mary Hill Bypass
- Kensington Ave & TransCanada Highway
- 88 Ave & King George Blvd
- Main St & Terminal Ave
Accidents range in number from 316 at Brunette Ave down to 170 at Main St.
There are several reasons why these old intersections are high-risk, and it mostly comes down to the way the cities in Metro Vancouver have changed over time. There are more cars and more traffic for longer periods of time than ever before. And since these intersections were not designed with this kind of volume in mind, people face bottlenecks and make riskier decisions to cross lanes and skip lines. Accidents are simply a numbers game, with the probability increasing the more cars there are on the roads.
It’s not exactly realistic or reasonable to plan your route to avoid all of the high-risk intersections, especially if you commute.
So, what can you do? Thankfully, the answer is: Plenty!
The most important thing you can do while operating a vehicle is to practice safety at all times. When you’re driving, driving should be your main (only) focus. This, of course, means leaving your phone alone. Absolutely, 100 percent keep your phone out of arm’s reach. Distracted driving is a major contributor to car crashes, and it is completely avoidable. It’s simply not worth checking your messages or fiddling with your phone while you’re on the road. Throw it in your glove box if you think you’ll be tempted.
You should also be taking your car into an auto body shop for regular maintenance and ensuring that it is safe on the roads. Failing or faulty brakes, poor visibility, or automobile trouble of any kind makes for dangerous driving. How many times have you driven past a stalled vehicle that is holding up thousands of cars? Don’t be that person! Get your car tuned up to avoid causing problems for other drivers.
Especially in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, there are plenty of factors out of your control. The rain, snow, sleet, wind, and thousands (and thousands) of other drivers. If you can avoid high risk intersections, you should! Plan ahead, take your time, and watch carefully.
And for the safety of yourself and everyone else on the road, take your vehicle into an auto body shop and get it tuned up regularly.
Stay safe out there!