The perils of driving in busy city centres are well known to car accident lawyers – traffic congestion, distraction, intoxication, and the intermingling of multiple types of road users create a slew of potential dangers.
However, driving on rural routes poses its own risks, including speeding, careless driving by locals who know the area like the back of their hands, a lack of traffic signs and lighting infrastructure, and small roads struggling to accommodate increasing traffic.
According to a recent report from the St. Catherines Standard, speeding is an especially common risk factor. The article references numerous serious injuries and fatalities along ‘accident alleys’ in southern Ontario with direct links to excess speed.
Niagara Region is acting to address the issue. In the Hamlet of Caistor Centre, it added digital “Slow Dow” signs that show drivers’ speeds along Regional Road 65. New lighting is likely to be added along Moyer Road outside the City of Welland. And a four-way stop sign has been approved for the intersection of Four Mile Creek Road and Line 3 Road near Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Other municipalities are lobbying the region for similar changes. In West Lincoln, Mayor Doug Joyner is advocating for four-way stops where Regional Road 65 intersects with Port Davidson Road and Regional Road 14.
“For years I have been saying I want a four-way stop at both those intersections because of the high fatality rate,” Mayor Joyner told the Standard. “The Region says that four-way stops aren’t the answer…. There will be confusion about who has to stop and who doesn’t; but, at the end of the day, a four-way stop sign is the best solution. You have to stop. You have to follow the Highway Traffic Act.”
Niagara Regional Police, like car accident lawyers, are aware of the dangers posed by rural speeders and have launched targeted enforcement operations along routes they know to be problematic. However, it will take a combination of awareness, infrastructure changes, and law enforcement to create meaningful behavioural change.
The City of Toronto, facing another year of elevated fatality numbers among vulnerable road users, is currently ground zero for road safety advocacy in Ontario. Significant changes are undoubtedly needed in the provincial capital, but governments also have an opportunity to implement modest changes that have meaningful impacts on the safety of rural drivers. Four-way stop signs along country roads are the perfect example.
If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident in rural Ontario, contact Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers today to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation. Our experienced team of car accident lawyers can help you access the compensation you need to fund your recovery.
Image credit: Nicholas A. Tonelli/Wikimedia Commons