For a second year, the Clarence and Dalhousie street intersection has claimed the dubious title of the worst intersection in Brantford.

With 18 collisions reported in 2014, the intersection holds the No. 1 spot for motor vehicle mishaps.

Second on the list is Henry Street at Wayne Gretzky Parkway with 15 collisions in 2014; and tied for third with 13 collisions each are King George Road at Wood Street, and Edmondson Street at Wayne Gretzky Parkway.

“People are becoming more impatient,” says Sgt. Grahame Lee, traffic supervisor with the Brantford Police Service.

In fact, Lee says, it’s impatience, intolerance and self-importance that lead to the majority of collisions in the city.

High traffic volumes (Clarence at Dalhousie sees more than 27,000 vehicles each day) coupled with drivers who disobey traffic signals equals a high probability for collisions.

Improper left turns are the apparent cause of a significant number of collisions, happening when hurried or harried drivers fail to yield the right of way and make the wrong judgment call in thinking they have time to beat oncoming traffic, Lee said. Red-light running is also a worrisome trend, he said.

To make matters worse, distracted driving, particularly the use of cell phones while at the wheel, is a serious problem that doesn’t seem to be getting better.

A traffic safety enforcement initiative in February, focusing on distracted driving, resulted in the laying of 20 charges, many having to do with cell phone use.

It’s a dangerous attitude of self-importance exhibited by those who think they need to chat while driving. “I’m worried about it,” Lee said.

Wayne Gretzky Parkway is also cause for concern, he said.

The faulty judgment of merging drivers who fail to yield to parkway traffic travelling at close to highway speed and those who make improper turns, has prompted Lee to dub Wayne Gretzky Parkway as the “fatal funnel.

“It’s truly a matter of seconds” that can avoid disaster, Lee said.

He said motorists also need to adjust their driving to weather conditions and that reminder never gets old. Speeds posted on roadways are designed for ideal weather and road conditions. Common sense should indicate speeds must be moderated when facing rain, snow and fog, he said.

And, while seatbelts and air bags save lives, drivers “cannot become overconfident” that safety features will make them impervious to the consequences of poor driving habits.

Strangely, the time of year is not always an indicator of dangerous drives. In 2014, the number of collisions throughout the city spiked in January and in October. January (450 collisions) is understandable given weather conditions, but the October spike (453 collisions) is a mystery, Lee said.

As for time of day, the highest number of collisions take place between noon and 5 p.m., when people are leaving work or school.

Recent proposals for red-light cameras and portable speed signs that flash at drivers to warn them of excessive speed are welcome initiatives, Lee said.

“I’ve seen the impact of fatal collisions on families,” he said. “If we can improve road safety, it’s a step in the right direction.”

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Worst intersections

Here are Brantford’s 10 worst intersections for 2014 (number of collisions in brackets), according to city police:

  • Clarence Street at Dalhousie Street (18) _ was No. 1 in 2013, too
  • Henry Street at Wayne Gretzky Parkway (15)
  • King George Road at Wood Street (13)
  • Edmondson Street at Wayne Gretzky Parkway (13)
  • Charing Cross Street at West Street (12)
  • Fairview Drive at West Street (12)
  • Brant Avenue at St. Paul Avenue (11)
  • Mt. Pleasant Street at Veteran’s Memorial Parkway (11)
  • Clarence Street at West Street (10)
  • Brant Avenue at Dalhousie Street (10)

Source: Brantford Expositor