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York Region’s Dangerous Intersections and How to Stay Safe

Jun 16, 2019 | Car Accidents, Initial Consultation

Moussa Sabzehghabaei

Personal Injury Lawyer

According to York Region’s director of road and traffic operations, Brian Titherington, the most dangerous intersections in the region are the ones that receive the highest volume of traffic.

Common Injuries in a Pedestrian Accident

1.    Hwy. 7 and Weston Road, Vaughan

This is probably the biggest intersection in the region if you consider the volume of traffic it receives every day as well as its surroundings. The intersection is busy on every side. Shops on both sides, two entranceways and multiple, double-left hand turns.

2.    Major Mackenzie Drive and Hwy. 400 offramp, Vaughan

This intersection is currently under construction. Improvements are underway to turn it into a more urban street. These changes are expected to improve safety in the intersection.

3.    Weston and Rutherford roads, Vaughan

This is one of those intersections that you’d avoid during rush hour because it’s plagued by plenty of volume.

4.    Hwy. 7 and Keele Street, Vaughan

This is the preferred route for industrial-sized trucks. The intersection has two left turns on each entry. A new Rapidway, which is expected to reduce accidents in this intersection, is under construction. Titherington states that in Markham, a similar Rapidway was constructed and reduced car crashes by 25%.

5.    Yonge Street and Green Lane, Newmarket

Accidents in this intersection are quite common as the rural road morphs quickly into a suburban road. Motorists are forced to escalate in speed when near this intersection from 60km/hr. to 80km/hr. The road morphs fast from being largely barren to a busy one with shops and drivers turning in and out from various parking lots. This causes traffic and accidents are quite common with the heavy volume of cars. The good news is that plans are underway to connect Bathurst St. to Hwy.11, a move that is expected to help relieve traffic in this intersection.

Statistics show that an estimated 90 to 95 percent of crashes that occur in North America are as a result of driver error. Intersection crashes are the most common and often have severe consequences. Understanding the risks of an intersection and how to avoid them can help you minimize your chances of getting involved in a crash.

Intersection crash types

There are different types of crashes that occur at intersections, the most common ones include:

  • Rear end collisions, which occur when the lead driver is hit at the back, often, by a distracted driver who didn’t realize the car had stopped.
  • Collisions between two oncoming vehicles at the intersection and left turning vehicles.
  • Side impact collisions, which are often as a result of a driver trying to run a red light.
  • Sideswipe collisions, which involve two cars turning at the same time
  • Collisions that involve other road users such as pedestrians and cyclists.

Common reasons for intersection collisions

  • Driver negligence, carelessness and recklessness
  • Failure to pay attention to oncoming traffic before turning left or right
  • Running a red light or ignoring a stop sign
  • Road users are unaware of the intersection (lack of visibility)
  • Distracted driving e.g. drivers using cell phones and car radios
  • Driving in high speeds when approaching the intersection
  • Poor visibility due to fog, smoke or mist
  • Failure to keep a safe following distance
  • Intersections with a complex layout
  • Faulty traffic signs/signals and poor road conditions

Tips to reduce accidents at intersections

Road crashes are often a result of human error. Aside from issues such as driver distraction, driving under the influence and other behaviors, addressing road design and engineering factors can reduce accidents that occur at intersections. We’ll go over some effective ways to reduce intersection crashes.

  • Introduction of roundabouts: Though this may not be an ideal solution for all intersections, roundabouts can reduce the speed of incoming traffic and lower the risk of right-angle collisions at the intersection.
  • Clear road markings and signs: A low-cost way to make intersections safer is making sure the road markings and signing is clear and visible to all road users.
  • Addition of cameras on various intersections will help ensure red light violators are caught and penalized. The camera should capture the license plate, the car as well as the date and time of the violation.
  • Proper lighting at intersections: This can help to reduce not only collisions but also criminal activity at night.
  • More signal visibility: All signals at the intersection should be made larger, clearer and brighter to avoid accidents that occur due to poor visibility.
  • Incorporate traffic calming measures such as speed bumps.

Safe driving tips at the intersections

While behind the wheel, here are a few things you can do to avoid a collision in an intersection.

  • Leave early to your destination to avoid rushing or getting impatient.
  • Drive anticipating problems or situations that require utmost attention and caution especially during rush hour.
  • Always be patient.
  • Avoid distractions when approaching an intersection.
  • Always wear a seatbelt and ensure everyone in the vehicle is wearing one.
  • Never speed at an intersection.
  • Always anticipate what the other drivers might do as you approach the intersection and drive defensively.

Why are intersections so dangerous?

Accidents that occur at intersections kill road users and leave many others with debilitating injuries. What makes these intersections so dangerous? To start with, the constant flow of traffic at intersections increases the risk of accidents. Many drivers are in a hurry, aggressive, impatient and sometimes plain clumsy and distracted behind the wheel. A majority of accidents in intersections are side impacts which are known to have a higher rate of death and serious injuries because the occupants of the struck vehicle have little vehicle structure to protect them when a collision happens.

The chances of death or serious injury reduce dramatically if the vehicles were moving at a slow speed when the crash occurred. Older pedestrians are particularly at higher risk of injury or death when crossing intersections.

If you or a loved one was involved in an intersection car crash caused by a negligent driver, contact our offices for a private and confidential consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers.