Province reminding drivers to stay safe at intersections

by Morinville News Staff

Each month of the year, police, sheriffs and peace officers focus on a different aspect of the Alberta Traffic Safety calendar. January’s focus is on intersection safety.

The Government of Alberta is taking the opportunity to remind Albertans, especially vehicle drivers to use precaution at intersections.

Citing Office of Traffic Safety stats, the province says 64 people die and 8,044 are injured on average each year at intersections across the province, and that three of the top five driver errors occur at intersections. These include improper left turns, committing a stop sign violation, and disobeying a traffic signal.

“Too many people get hurt or killed at intersections and we want to change that,” said Brian Mason, Minister of Transportation, in a release Wednesday. “Motorists, cyclists and pedestrians all have a role to play to decrease the chances of a collision. By issuing this reminder, I hope that everyone will be more aware when approaching intersections and will do what they can to make sure they keep themselves safe and ensure the safety of others.”

Superintendent Gary Graham, officer in charge of Alberta Traffic Services said safety at intersections requires extra caution from both drivers and pedestrians. “For drivers, always look before proceeding through intersections regardless of the traffic light colour, and when making a right turn, check for pedestrians,” Graham advises. “For pedestrians, always make eye contact with the drivers before crossing the street. If we work together, we can improve safety at intersections.”

In Alberta, failure to stop at a stop sign results in a $388 fine and three demerits. At a stop sign, drivers must come to a complete stop. The wheels of the vehicle must not be moving before proceeding safely through the intersection. This complete stop gives drivers the opportunity to look for oncoming traffic, pedestrians or cyclists.

Higher up the traffic ticket pole is Failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk, which carries a $776 fine and four demerit points.

Vehicles arriving at a four-way stop sign, should allow the vehicle that arrived first to proceed first. If vehicles arrive simultaneously, the right of way is granted to the vehicle on the right. Left-turning vehicles yield to approaching traffic.

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