TERRACE RCMP are saying driver inattention is the cause of four accidents over four days at the intersection on the south end of the Sande Overpass.
In all cases, a vehicle approaching on Keith Ave. from the west and turning left onto the overpass was then in a collision with a vehicle approaching on Keith Ave. from the east with the intention of proceeding through the intersection on a green light.
“The person is failing to yield right-of-way in all of them to the westbound traffic going through,” said Terrace RCMP Const. Angela Rabut, community policing and media relations, of drivers wanting to turn left.
There were no injuries in these past four accidents which is likely because drivers are turning so their speeds are slow but in the majority of incidents, the vehicles were towed so there was still significant vehicle damage, added Rabut.
She did not know whether the current work on the overpass to remove its old surface and replace it with a new one is distracting people but said no one in the recent accidents has brought it up.
“Definitely things are a little bit busier but the construction is not obstructing the view of the west vehicles at all,” said Rabut.
The most recent accident took place the morning of Sept. 26 when a vehicle traveling east was attempting to turn left onto the overpass and collided with a westbound vehicle traveling straight though the intersection.
Three other accidents taking place between Sept. 23 and Sept. 25 had the exact same circumstances.
The number of accidents in such a short period of time is reminiscent of a similar series which took place after an extensive construction project was completed last November.
That work, which added an eastbound turning lane from the north, also changed the traffic pattern on the south end by adding traffic lights.
Up until then there were only stop signs to regulate Keith Ave. traffic going through the intersection.
While transportation ministry engineers said there was nothing wrong with the traffic control lights and installed they did add a small yield sign high up on the Keith Ave. western approach to the overpass.
It’s intended to warn drivers of the need to be cautious when turning left onto the overpass.
The difference is since the traffic light was put in, westbound traffic can continue through the intersection whereas before, they had a stop sign and had to wait, said Rabut.
“They’re just not thinking, period,” she said.
Rabut said left turns across traffic lanes are one of the most common causes of collisions.
“There is a lot that a driver needs to pay attention to such as changing lights, oncoming traffic running yellow/red lights, pedestrians, traffic proceeding crossways, and all the day-to-day distractions etc.,” she said.
“Before committing to the left turn, ensure that it is safe to proceed and if not sure, take your time and reassess before proceeding.
“Slow down and think things through.”