Canada: Common Causes For Car Accidents On Ontario's 400 Series Highways

Last Updated: March 1 2017
Article by Adam Wagman

If you live, work or travel in southern Ontario, you've probably spent your fair share of time on the 400 series highway system, including highway 400, 401, 403, 404 and 427 to name just a few. If you use a highway as a part of your regular commute, high traffic volume, winter weather crawls and regular lane closures due to accidents will often leave you sitting bumper to bumper, longing to get home and forget about this agonizing part of your day.

When you do finally make it home, kick off your shoes and decide to curl up to watch some TV, what should come on as you flip through the channels? Perhaps it's Discovery Channel's Heavy Rescue: 401, a new reality program that focuses on the rescue vehicles, towing companies, and police officers who spend even more time of this highway system than you do – often working in dangerous conditions.

In this blog post, I look at some common causes of accidents on the 400 series highways and provide some safe highway driving tips.

A Safe Highway System

Although regular 400 series users will have passed by the scene of many accidents, Ontario's highway transportation system actually has one of the lowest accident and fatality rates in North America. Considering that as many as 400,000 vehicles use the 400 series every day, and the portion of Highway 401 crossing Toronto is the busiest stretch of highway in the world, this safety record is especially impressive.

Researchers have found that particular design features of the 400 series deserve a good portion of the credit for the low accident rate. Although newer portions of the highway system were designed to support speeds of up to 130 kilometres per hour, the speed limit on most sections of this system is only 100 kilometres per hour. Lower speed limits and ample room to execute turns and merges reduce the likelihood of some accidents.

Moreover, a special version of the Jersey wall – a concrete barrier designed to separate lanes from oncoming traffic – called the Ontario Tall Wall has been installed to help prevent large transport trailer trucks from crossing into oncoming lanes of traffic or flipping over in the event of a crash.

Accidents on Highways Still Happen

Despite all of the safety features, as depicted on Heavy Rescue: 401, rescue vehicles are still called into action every day as car accidents result in serious damage, injuries or death and can bring traffic on these roads to a standstill. As we've detailed in other blog posts (See: Common Causes Car of Accidents in Ontario), human error is overwhelmingly to blame when car accidents occur, and highway driving poses heightened risks for making such errors.

  • Fatigue – Whether it's transport truck drivers on a long haul, commuters who are exhausted while trekking to work early in the morning or home from work in the evening, or vacationers travelling across the country, many people on highways are making long trips or may not be as rested and alert as they should be. As 400 Series signs advise: "Fatigue Kills – Take a break." Ensure you're well rested before beginning any trip by getting at least seven hours of sleep. Make frequent stops on longer trips where you can get out of the car and walk around. And, if possible, share driving duties so you can recharge and remain alert while operating the vehicle.
  • Distraction – Turning your attention away from the road for only a second or two while changing the radio station, grabbing a snack or consulting a map, can be dangerous at any time while driving. But when travelling at very high speeds, the amount of time needed to perceive and respond to a hazard increases and every second counts. Keep alert, scan the road regularly and stay a safe distance away from cars ahead of you. Never use a handheld device while driving.  If you need to do anything other than drive, pull off the highway when it's safe and take a break.
  • Distance – In addition to keeping a safe distance from other vehicles while driving (especially when merging or changing lanes), be sure you are safely away from danger if you need to stop while on the highway due to a car problem, accident, or any other reason. Pull off the travelled portion of the road as much as possible and keep your hazard lights flashing to ensure other drivers see you.  Exercise extreme caution if you need to exit your vehicle. When you are ready to proceed, make sure you have ample room to drive back onto the road and get up to the speed of traffic.
  • Unexpected conditions
  • In addition to preventable human error, sometimes factors outside a driver's control can increase the risk of highway accidents.
  • Road Conditions/Construction – Although most 400 series roads are in a fairly good state of repair, potholes and other hazards on the road, such as car parts or roadkill, can cause you or other drivers to swerve or slow down unexpectedly. Maintaining a safe speed and a safe distance from other cars can reduce the risk of these hazards, reducing the chances of being involved in a collision. Be mindful if construction workers, snow plows or other patrols are doing work on the highway. You may need to make a lane change, slow down quickly, or change positions in a lane to give them more space to work.
  • Weather/visibility – Southern Ontario's 400 series highways have some notorious sections that are prone to snow squalls during the winter. While research on accidents on these highways confirms that winter weather heightens the risk of road accidents, any type of inclement conditions can make driving more challenging. In addition to driving according to conditions (reducing speed, increasing distance between vehicles) pay attention to weather forecasts and Ministry of Transportation advisories prior to taking trips and avoid travelling in unsafe conditions whenever possible. Ensure your vehicle is visible (this also applies to regular nighttime driving) and that all headlights and brake lights are in good working order.

Stay Safe

No one wants to see, or even worse, to be a part of an accident on these roadways; but seeing the stories behind rescue operations and the work that goes into making the 400 series highways among the safest in North America on programs like Heavy Rescue: 401 gives you some reassurance. First responders, maintenance workers and patrols are ready to be called in at a moment's notice if something goes wrong.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident on the 400 series highways in Ontario, you know the story doesn't stop with those first responders. If you have questions about accessing the available statutory accident benefits or seeking damages if you believe another driver acted negligently, personal injury lawyers can help you on your road to recovery.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Howie, Sacks & Henry
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Howie, Sacks & Henry
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions