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Highway Design Prevent Fatal Accidents in Calgary, Medicine Hat, and Beyond

Posted in: Blog // Written on behalf of Cuming & Gillespie
December 21, 2015

Car accidents, here in Calgary and throughout the world, seem to be an unavoidable part of driving. Human beings make mistakes, and when those mistakes involve thousands of pounds of metal traveling at fast speeds, it can have disastrous effects.

Sometimes drivers cause accidents as a result of consciously making the wrong choices like distracting themselves with cell phones or other activities while driving a car, going faster than is safe for the conditions, or breaking the rules of the road for convenience’s sake. Other accidents are caused by less conscious, such as panic when confronted with a hazard or losing control of a vehicle during inclement weather.

Acknowledging this difference is important; although anyone who causes a car accident in Calgary—whether as the result of a conscious choice or a true error—is responsible for any damage and injuries they cause, it’s important to note that conditions can affect accident rates, and that the options drivers have available on the road can help them avoid accidents by providing less stressful driving situations that result in better choices and fewer errors.

That’s exactly why many are calling for an expansion and “twinning” of Highway 3 between Taber and Medicine Hat, a few hours south of the City of Calgary. Road and highway design has a lot to do with accident rates, and this stretch of highway has been the site of many serious accidents—including two vehicle collisions resulting in fatalities in just one week earlier this month. Anyone driving this stretch of Alberta highway is reminded to drive with caution, paying attention to oncoming traffic and using the passing lanes sparingly and with carefully.

Highway 3 currently has both directions of traffic travelling side by side, and crossing the center line into oncoming traffic is a common cause for serious accidents. The passing lanes that appear intermittently were intended to allow drivers traveling in the same direction to safely pass each other without needing to expand the highway, yet one of the recent fatal car accidents occurred at the end of one such passing lane. It has been suggested that some drivers try to “race” through the passing lane in order to pass vehicles even when there isn’t enough time or distance to do so safely.

Twinning the highway would mean building a parallel stretch of asphalt alongside the existing roadway, completely separating the two directions of traffic and giving each direction two lanes along the whole stretch of the highway between Medicine Hat and Taber. This would allow for safer passing and eliminate accidents caused by crossing into oncoming traffic, saving lives and reducing other serious injuries from car accidents.

It’s a move we hope Alberta makes soon.

Car Accidents Can’t be Blamed Solely on Conditions

Even the worst driving conditions don’t excuse drivers from causing accidents or let them evade responsibility for the accidents they cause. Being a responsible driver means driving carefully enough to prevent accidents regardless of the conditions, or leaving the road if conditions are too dangerous.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence or recklessness, here in Calgary or throughout Alberta, contact our office today to get the help you need.

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