Between January and September, there were about 2,000 vehicle collisions in Lethbridge, down about 400 from the same time last year. But police say the lower numbers are not because drivers are becoming more aware of their surroundings.
According to them, it’s because this year started with a mild winter.
“They’re following too closely, they’re driving too fast for the road conditions – it takes time to react and stop when somebody is forced to react and stop by an animal, another vehicle or a hazard on the roadway,” Traffic Response Unit Sgt. Wade Davidson said.
Driving instructor John Roach says it’s hard to teach his students to follow the rules of the road when they see so many other drivers ignore them.
“They don’t use their signal lights or they do and go the wrong way, and many times, it’s just like shoulder checks they never ever done,” he said. “There’s many times someone comes up and does a lane change right in front of us, and they don’t even know we’re there. I’m in a driving training car with a student and they can’t understand that.”
Earlier this month on Whoop-Up Drive, a vehicle hit a deer. Other drivers didn’t adjust to the road conditions and that resulted in five other collisions involving more than 15 cars. No one was seriously injured.
“When you get on a high-speed roadway like Whoop-Up Drive or Highway 3, where traffic is going 90 (km/h) plus an hour, at those speeds, there is significant chance of injuries,” Davidson said.
“So yes, thus far, those people have been very lucky.”
Responding to preventable crashes are costly too.
A 2010 study by the Capital Region Intersection Safety Partnership (CRISP) shows response per accident cost the following amount:
- Fatal: $181, 335;
- Injury: $39, 325.
“That’s beyond the cost the repairs to vehicles, health care spending on injuries and the other cost to society, involved in collisions,” Davidson said.