There have been a lot of discussions and opinion polls on why there are so many accidents on the Outer Ring Road. I am sure that speeding, distracted drivers, road conditions and weather contribute to a lot of the incidents. However, in my opinion, there is something that has been missed and that is that the rules for the Outer Ring Road are different than those for the Trans-Canada Highway.
The Outer Ring Road is a road, not a highway. I am not an expert, but these are my observations:
Drivers should know there is no fast lane! Unlike the TCH, which states every so many kilometres “Keep right except to pass,” you will notice there are no such signs on the Outer Ring Road.
If you are in the left lane and travelling at 100 kilometres or slower due to road conditions, this is where you are supposed to be. For example, if you are travelling westbound from Paradise, and your destination is Costco, you should be in the left lane the entire time. Unfortunately, the person behind you truly believes that you should move to the right; that person is thinking it is the fast lane and they are going to tailgate you or become impatient, therefore causing the possibility of an accident. The signs on the Outer Ring Road are clear; look up — they tell the driver which lane to be in based on the next exit.
The Outer Ring Road is a road, not a highway.
The next big problem is merging into traffic. This consistently seems to be a problem for the drivers on the Outer Ring Road. It is the responsibility of the person coming onto the Outer Ring Road to merge onto the highway; they should use their time on the ramp to decide whether to speed up or slow down to merge into traffic. For some reason drivers seem to expect the person driving on the Outer Ring Round in the right lane to move to the left, or worse, put on the brake and let them out. I have seen this and it is very dangerous. Changing lanes to let a driver come onto the Outer Ring Road is just adding an additional chance of an accident by increasing the number of unsafe lane changes.
When there is construction or an accident, drivers become frustrated and start to merge to one lane way too early. They should continue in the lane they are in until they reach the point of the construction or accident, and then one car at a time should zipper merge. Instead, drivers start merging three and four kilometres back, just causing confusion and delaying traffic long before it needs to, and again, creating more chance of an accident with drivers trying to second guess which lane will go faster. If you are in the lane that is moving faster, that’s OK; lucky you, keep going. Ignore the people who are shaking their fists at you. You will merge when you need to, at the end of the line.
Directional signals seem to anger drivers on the Outer Ring Road. What is with our drivers? It’s like when you put on your directional signal there is now a challenge. But when I put on my directional signal, I’m not asking you to let me in, I’m telling you where I intend to go. If the driver continues at their speed, I will find my way into the lane by adjusting my speed. It’s not a competition.