January and February are two months of the year when we see more car accident fatalities on the roads of British Columbia, and in Burnaby two fatal crashes recently occurred within 48 hours of each other. The first crash involved two taxis travelling on Canada Way, and the second involved the death of a pedestrian at Kingsborough Street and McKay Avenue. Three serious motor vehicle accidents have occurred within a very short time and Burnaby RCMP is urging pedestrians and drivers to remain vigilant, take extra precautions, make eye contact and never assume the driver or pedestrian has seen you.
Guyle Clark, ICBC lawyer with Warnett Hallen LLP has lived in Burnaby his entire life. He tells us, “There are several very dangerous and high accident areas in Burnaby, especially around the on and off ramps surrounding Highway #1. Although the ramps have been modified over the past few years, my personal experience is that they can still be confusing for drivers. Often drivers are in the wrong lanes for the direction they want to travel and this leads to rapidly braking and changing lanes, which results in crashes and rear-end car accidents.”
Top Three Car Crash Intersections In Burnaby
According to ICBC’s quick stats reports, Burnaby has three of the top 10 accident intersections in the lower mainland.
- Trans-Canada Hwy and Willingdon Ave offramp, onramp and turning lane
- Gaglardi Way onramp and Trans-Canada Hwy, emergency and turning lane
- Kensington Ave offramp and onramp and Trans-Canada Hwy and turning lane
Strategies to avoid car accidents when highway driving and merging
Safety tips for entering and exiting highways:
- Match the speed when entering a highway
- Stick to the speed limit
- Use turn signals
- Use your mirrors
- Keep your distance
- Mind the gaps — both give and take!
For vehicles that are travelling on Highway 1 near onramps it is very important to recognize that the vehicles on the onramp need time and room to merge onto the highway. Consequently, moving over a lane or slowing down to allow traffic to merge is helpful and allows vehicles to merge safely. Never drive beside vehicles as they are attempting to merge as this makes for a dangerous situation for all vehicles in the area as the merging vehicle may run out of space causing them to have to stop abruptly or change lanes abruptly. As always, the safest way to drive is defensively which means being aware of the vehicles, road conditions and hazards around you. This is especially true at higher speeds on BC Highway 1 and busy areas such as onramps and off-ramps where vehicles are either speeding up to enter a highway or slowing down to get off the highway.
Drivers must signal, increase speed, and merge safely into the flow of traffic
It is everyone’s responsibility to follow merge lane rules. Merge lanes are relatively short and thus drivers merging onto a highway, should be at a speed just slightly below speed limits, so that they can find a gap in the traffic without having traffic behind have to quickly decelerate. Drivers currently on the highway need to adjust their speed when approaching on-ramps and the best practice is try to move to the left lane as you approach the freeway ramp.
Timed entrance lights to freeways
Although it is not as common in BC, many cities are now adopting timed entrance lights to regulate the flow of traffic in an attempt to eliminate bottlenecks around freeway exchanges. The on-ramp will have a simplified traffic light that will either be red or green. The traffic meters make drivers stop and wait before entering the flow of traffic. This allows the vehicle ahead to enter the highway and provides a gap for the next car in line to enter the highway.
Safely navigating to exit off a highway
An off-ramp is built to encourage drivers to slow down and safely exit a highway into a reduced speed corridor. Plan your route and be prepared for your off-ramp exit. In North America all off ramps have a numbered system and most map programs will indicate the number along with the name of the off-ramp. Best driving practice is to always travel in the right lane or the designated exit lane. Ensure you signal your intention to exit ahead of time and upon approach slow your speed.
If for some reason you may miss the exit, do not abruptly slow down and try to cross over lanes as this manoeuvre cause rear-end and side crashes. Also stopping in between the off-ramp and the highway lane is very dangerous, and it is illegal to back your car onto the shoulder. Proceed to the next exit and then double back if required.
Highway car accidents are often fatal
Because of the speed of the traffic and the volume of vehicles, including a larger portion of heavy-duty and truck vehicles, highway accidents often result in more serious car accident injuries and damages to the vehicles. According to ICBC quick stats, across BC on average (based on five years of statistics) over 12,000 car accidents occurred involving heavy vehicles with 3100 injuries and 64 deaths.
Guyle reminds us, “My advice to drivers in these areas is to be extra aware of their speed, the cars around them and the road signage that directs which lane their vehicle should be in. This is especially true during times with high traffic volume such as the morning or evening rush hours.”
Contact our experienced Vancouver & Burnaby Car Accident Lawyers
If you have been injured in a Burnaby car accident, a car accident commuting from Burnaby to Vancouver, a truck accident, heavy duty vehicle accident or a highway accident, please call Guyle Clark – for free ICBC settlement advice – a Burnaby car accident lawyer who lives in your community and commutes to Vancouver to practice personal injury law. If you are unable to come to our Vancouver offices, we will gladly come to you. We offer free car accident consultations.