I consider myself an experienced and defensive driver. I always ensure that other drivers see me, anticipate mistakes that they may make and adjust my driving accordingly. My driver’s abstract will show no accidents or at fault” claims in 25 years of driving (knock on wood) and I travel up and down the Sea to Sky Highway almost on a daily basis. I don’t believe in accidents per se. In my opinion, crashes are the direct result of a driver having made an error in judgment or had a moment of inattention.
Reading how a woman, someone’s loved one, lost her life at the intersection of Depot Road and Government Road in Brackendale really upset me. Although the RCMP is still investigating the cause, it was just a matter of time before a serious accident at this intersection was going to happen. That’s because the intersection is unsafe. The roads cross at an awkward angle, making it difficult to judge the left turn onto Depot Road from either way off of Government Road.
As per Section 165(2)(d) of the B.C. Motor Vehicle Act, a driver turning left from an intersection must “when practicable, turn the vehicle in the portion of the intersection to the left of the centre of the intersection.”
The problem with this intersection is that if you arrive at the intersection at the same time as another vehicle indicates a left turn from Government to Depot Road, you have to move INTO and AHEAD of the centre of the intersection to make a proper left turn. Otherwise, you will turn before the right lane on Depot and drive into oncoming traffic of the left lane.
I experienced a time when another vehicle was approaching and we both entered the intersection at the same time to make a left turn. We had both entered the centre of the intersection and we both put our hands up wondering if the other was going to cross in front or behind each other’s vehicles. To be safe, I drove ahead and crossed the centre of the intersection and turned left behind his vehicle so that I can turn into the proper lane on Depot Road.
What if, in this instance, we both had anticipated that we would turn in front of each other like any conventional left turn from an intersection but one had realized this was not possible and continued through the intersection to turn left behind the vehicle? It would have resulted in a head-on or a broadsided crash. Is that what happened yesterday?
This intersection needs at least a four-way stop so that vehicles turning left can do so safely by moving ahead of the centre of the intersection and making a proper left turn in the right lane on Depot Road. It needs to be safer. It’s a no-brainer. It can be fixed.