I'll Meet You in the Middle

Driving behaviour is a never-ending curiosity for me, so when I heard a conversation about the intersection of Haslam and Adshead roads south of Nanaimo, I had to take a look.

The gist of the story was that most drivers seemed to treat this Y shaped intersection as being uncontrolled and zoomed through it as if the rest of the world was going to stop for them.

The sentiment was expressed that it is only a matter of time before a serious crash occurred there.

A search of ICBC's crash maps revealed that there was only one reported collision in the intersection from 2011-15 and it was classed as being property damage only.

According to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, this occurred on Feb.18, 2015 and the story's photo showed two mini vans, both of whose drivers had just passed yield signs, sitting corner to corner in the middle.

There does not appear to be a vision problem at work here. Both drivers had a reasonable opportunity to see each other as they approached the intersection although there is some vegetation in the way as one might expect in a rural area.

The yield signs are visible and the posted speed limit is 50 km/h.

My limited experience with driving here suggests that few road users respect the limit.

I can understand why this low volume intersection is controlled by yield signs. Stop signs would be treated as a yield by many drivers.

Both the collision frequency and the possible need to stop for other traffic here is minimal.

Perhaps this collision has it's roots in how some drivers tend to treat yield signs. Rather than see it as a potential stop, they see it as an invitation not to.

Our Learn to Drive Smart guide says only a little about yield signs:

A yield sign means that you must let the traffic on the through road have the right‑of‑way. You may enter the intersection without stopping if there are no pedestrians, cyclists or vehicles on the through road. But you must slow down (and stop if necessary) and wait for a safe gap if there is traffic on the through road.

The Tuning Up For Drivers does go further. It instructs a driver facing a yield sign to:

  • Slow down
  • Check for traffic
  • If necessary, stop
  • Wait for a long, safe break in traffic
  • Turn into the nearest lane
  • Look ahead and adjust your speed

Although the cost of construction would have been higher, this intersection is a good candidate for a roundabout or traffic circle.

It forces drivers to slow, gives more time to check for traffic and facilitates stopping. If a stop is not needed, everyone may keep moving on to their destination safely.

Story URL: http://www.drivesmartbc.ca/collisions/ill-meet-you-middle


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About the Author

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. He has been writing his column for most of the 20 years of his service in the RCMP.

The column was 'The Beat Goes On' in Fort St. John, 'Traffic Tips' in the South Okanagan and now 'Behind the Wheel' on Vancouver Island and here on Castanet.net.

Schewe retired from the force in January of 2006, but the column has become a habit, and continues.

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