What can you do about all the carnage?

Dianne Grimmer of Ladysmith thanks letter writer Brent Browning for highlighting the issue of traffic accidents on the Island Highway.

Editor:

Re: Brent Browning’s letter “Will they do something to end the carnage on the corner near the Mohawk station?” in the March 9 Chronicle.

Since I have been ranting for six years about scary driving and frequent accidents on the highway, I have to speak up in support of Brent Browning.

He has nailed the problem, but also, as he says, what can you do? One problem might be weather patterns, and sadly, we don’t have much control over the weather.

In the four years after I moved to Nanaimo, I drove to Ladysmith once or twice a week for family reasons. Even in my few trips, I was surprised (shocked?) to pass terrible accidents several times. At least two of them involved fatalities. Pounding heavy rain was often the weather pattern at these accidents and again in a recent one (Feb. 22, 2013) involving three vehicles and hours of closure of the highway between the Mostar Road and Aulds Road exits.

I can’t comment on accidents happening on icy roads because I wouldn’t head out onto the road in those conditions. One reason I moved to Ladysmith in 2011 was so that I wouldn’t have that drive on my agenda at all.

If my reaction seems extreme, compare it to my previous life when I was working.

On the mainland, I commuted for many years on Highways 99, 91 or sometimes 99A, and I remember those commutes with great pleasure. My drive took me through the scenic Serpentine Flats and wildlife refuge as the sun was rising and playing gorgeously through the trees and along the water, also, along the picturesque shores of Mud Bay at high and low tide and through the lush farmlands of South Surrey. In those days, we could drive with a cup of coffee in hand (although today we might be faced with tickets for distracted driving?). I have no memories of the type of terrible and regular accidents I’ve seen here interfering with my commute.

I was very happy to see the Highways Department divide the highway in the Cassidy area. The RCMP can be seen patrolling sometimes, although in my experience, speeding is not a factor.   Traffic seems to flow along the highway at posted speeds, more or less. Those people who check trucks set themselves up there sometimes too.

But what else can be done? What is ICBC doing, for example? Do they just sit there quietly writing off all these vehicles smashing up right, left and centre? What about the fatalities? I’m sure the emergency responders are traumatized, and clearly the families care because they set up those heartbreaking highway-side memorials and tend them for years.

Thank you Brent Browning for taking the time to highlight the issue and thanks also to the Chronicle for providing space for his letter. It sometimes seems as if not too many folks care about the carnage.

Dianne Grimmer

Ladysmith