Highways are getting busier now that winter is over, and every day, thousands of people travel on the stretch of Highway 401 between Toronto and Montreal. As the traffic volume increases, officials say so does the number of crashes.
According to Ontario Provincial Police and highway drivers, there are a number of reasons for the crashes, making it a hard problem to solve.
“I’ve seen people playing on laptops, playing on their cellphones on the internet. I’ve seen a guy that had a DVD player somehow strapped to his seat down between his legs and he was watching that as he was going,” says long-haul trucker Robert Knoblaugh.
Distracted driving, speed, and not being aware of what’s on the road ahead — these are some of the common problems that cause traffic collisions across Canada.
When it’s on a major highway like the 401 and involves a tractor-trailer, the results can be deadly.
Community safety and media relations officer for the Frontenac OPP detachment, Const. Roop Sandhu says, “People have to realize just to drive safely, not to be distracted, make sure that they’re not fatigued.”
Sandhu adds that keeping a safe distance between other vehicles and staying aware of what is on the road ahead are key safety measures.
Driving schools do their best to train new drivers to be extra cautious when passing or being passed by a bigger vehicle.
Karen Young is the owner of Joe’s Driving Academy in Kingston and says caution is a driver’s friend.
“If you’re following a tractor-trailer, you got to be able to see the driver’s mirror. If you can’t see his mirror, then he can’t see you.”
Some longtime truckers say that training is a big issue as well. In a phone interview, a trucker of 40 years, Glen Coones, told CKWS that there is so much demand that people are being given licences before they are road-ready.
Coones added while doing his own research, he found driving schools don’t train truckers with a fully-loaded trailer.
He says in order to drive safely, a trucker needs to know how to adjust to the weight distribution of what they are hauling, otherwise, they are a risk to themselves and other drivers.