Q&A - What to do About a Dangerous Road Situation

Q&A ImageWell, I've seen this coming for months. There is an off-ramp on Hwy1, exit#28 onto Boundary Rd heading south, just before Grandview Hwy; and immediately after there is a tiny little street called E 11th Ave. I take the off-ramp about 5 times a week and almost every time some genius takes a right turn from Boundary's middle lane into the 11th. Most of the time I am able to foresee this and come off at about 30km/h waiting for the next bright mind to turn across my nose with-out a shoulder-check.

Well, today, despite me being rather prepared by the previous close calls, a driver took the right hand turn across my bow into that tiny little street so close that no amount of braking would have prevented the collision. He literally just turned into me. It's rather minor - just a dented left fender, scratched bumper and a broken headlight. Not much damage to their plastic marvel - hit was on the right side of the bumper, thanks to my quick reaction and emergency braking. Had I not been paying attention, or if I was going the speed-limit - the damage would have certainly been more spectacular. And I was very lucky to have no Hwy traffic close on my bumper - would've been rear-ended otherwise.

Obviously getting into an accident and dealing with the aftermath makes me ever so jolly, but my point is this:

The entrance onto that street from Boundary Rd should be blocked. Either by blocking the entire street or by installing pylon barriers between the centre lane and the right lane that is coming off the highway (Patullo bridge style). The ICBC adjuster who took my claim seemed rather uninterested in regards to my thoughts of that situation and said that I should be bugging the city of Vancouver for that.

That street used to be allowed to left turn onto Boundary - across three lanes of traffic - but that was blocked once the #28 exit reopened a few years back - good move. But where do I begin trying to close the entire street? Best of all - the smarty pants that failed his shoulder check turning onto 11th - proceeded to turn left on Skeena and took a right onto the Grandview; he could have just turned from Boundary onto Grandview - but instead chose to "cut corner" presumably so he doesn't have to wait at the light.

There is a Walmart there and the VFS - lots of people turn into that street right across the off-ramp traffic - most don't even seem to realize that there is a Hwy exit merging onto Boundary and persistently make that turn from the middle lane.

If you look at the street view - you'll see a beige Jaguar, hilariously, doing exactly what I'm describing - "play" a few frames (by pressing up/down) - you'll see that its making a right turn onto the 11th from the middle lane of Boundary Rd.

What can be done? Who do I call or write to?

I think I'm understanding the situation you're referring to.  If I'm not mistaken, as you get to the end of the off ramp, there's a sharp turn to the right, with a marked crosswalk in the middle of it, and isn't there a 'Yield' sign near there - kind of odd, as the lane you're entering doesn't necessarily have to yield to any other traffic as it continues almost as far as 27th Avenue.  So drivers in conflict with you are either disobeying the MVA section on lane changing, or failing to turn from the correct lane road position.

As to who should be made aware of the potentially dangerous situation, it's on the west side of Boundary, so either in the jurisdiction of Vancouver City, or possibily the Provincial Highways guys, as their provenance often extends into adjacent municipal boundaries.

I see that the Yield sign they used to have (according to my memory) around the end of the Exit 28 Off Ramp there has been removed - it wasn't appropriate to the situation - but there's now a warning sign, as Outrageous points out, advising of the pending lane situation.  More importantly, it's true that the southbound traffic on Boundary does NOT face any kind of warning sign themselves about the new existence of the curb lane that follows the off-ramp.  That should definitely be remedied, it wouldn't hardly cost anything.

It would be my guess that what the engineers are trying to do is to provide as much chance as possible for motorists to make the necessary number of lane changes to get in position for a left or right turn at Grandview, only a block and a half ahead.  For the driver at the end of Exit 28, that would actually be three lane changes in succession to head east at Grandview - or even earlier, at Regent.  For the driver southbound on Boundary, one or two lane changes will be needed to turn west at Grandview - or even earlier, at East 11th.

It actually is worth taking the time to get on Google Earth Street View, commencing southbound on Boundary from around Open Road Audi, and see this whole situation from the aspect of the driver there (keeping in mind that the Google Earth camera is taking everything in from a higher vantage point than behind the wheel). When you do this, the absence of a warning sign about the new right hand lane stands out as a glaring ommission.

It's cleary 3 lanes there and I haven't been on that section for a while, but on google earth it doesn't show a (W-35 Added Lane Sign) after coming under the overpass as I believe their should be, even though it's fairly obvious. If no one else like drivesmart directs you too the correct place to inquire, I would start by phoning Transport & Infrastucture general inquiries 250-387-3198 I'm sure they will direct you. Maybe check to see if that sign infact does not exsit first. But still to turn right from the middle lane is not legal. I have my doubts they will close the road though, just my opinion, you can always ask their opinion:-)

Class 1: I'll give that a try, first gotta wait in-suspense whether the guy calls ICBC and fesses up to his indiscretions. The adjuster told me to call them 24 hours after I made the claim to see if it was reported by the other party.

Competent: No, there is no Yield sign. But there is a sign Class 1 is talking about at the off-ramp - but not on Boundary as far as I know. Regardless - I drive that section so often - that I'm always yielding to these hooligans; well also there is an occasional pedestrian in the cross-walk across the off-ramp - so I approach with extra care.

Somebody once told me that my lane switches are very intelligent - the guy who hit me was the extreme opposite of that ;)

In reply to by Outrageous

I'm sure you have nothing to worry about if the other driver doesn't fess up, if as you say they turned from the center lane and into the front of your vehicle, seems stright forward. And yes, that same sign coming down the exit should also be posted for the 2 lanes coming under the overpass to show the 3rd lane. If you phone the city & or the police as drivesmart suggested,  I would point that out myself, maybe help stop a few crashes there even though it's apparent it's 3 lanes. Good luck:-)

Today's article was prompted by your post here.

It's unfortunate, but I have absolutely no confidence that you will find anyone who is interested. If you do decide to follow up, it would be very good of you to come back here and keep us all up to date on what transpires. Who knows? It would be very pleasant to be proven wrong!

Appreciate the words of encouragement, I'll provide updates as they come, I intend on following up with this.

Update so far:

The other party did not report and ICBC was not able to get a hold of the other driver by phone - they are sending a letter to them and promised to "make a report" if the other party does not check-in in 30 days. Not sure what they meant, and I did not ask.

I was held in-suspense for most of the day in anticipation of the word on liability because I have not questioned the other driver as to their actions nor did I accuse them; I was quite non-confrontational. It was raining heavily at the time, so I had invited the other driver to sit-in into my car as I wrote down my license and insurance information and handed them the paper along with my license and insurance papers to verify the legitimacy of my script. The other party did the same; I snapped a couple of pictures of damages out-side as they were writing (I only have one pen in the car), then we simply parted ways with-out discussing any of the fault. Since I was quite sure about the liability at the time, I did not want to confront the other driver.

Today, I made a call to VPD non-emergency line regarding the unsafe actions of a fellow driver, as I estimated in my layman's view that the driver is deserving of any of the following:

- 144(1)(a) Drive without due care 

- 144(1)(b) Drive without consideration

- 151(e) Right turn from wrong lane

- 151(a) Unsafe lane change

And I would have no problem showing up in-court in-case of a dispute to testify 18 or so months later, but the kindergarten-teacher-like lady informed me that since I've provided all the information to ICBC - they will be the ones doing the investigation and they would report to VPD if they needed their help. 

I am not constrained by the lack of immediate liability resolution - I have the coverage and my deductible is the lowest possible, and even if for some unknown to me reason the collision was decided to be 100% my fault - I would not suffer a huge premium increase since it would a first for me in over 13 years of driving. But it would be nice of the other driver to actually follow through with their duties and not keep me in this uncomfortable suspense.

Your behaviour at the scene, that is:

The other party did not report and ICBC was not able to get a hold of the other driver by phone - they are sending a letter to them and promised to "make a report" if the other party does not check-in in 30 days. Not sure what they meant, and I did not ask.

I was held in-suspense for most of the day in anticipation of the word on liability because I have not questioned the other driver as to their actions nor did I accuse them; I was quite non-confrontational.

Expect this to take a while.  I know this, because I used to manage a Driver Training School with up to a dozen cars on the road, seven days a week.  Inevitably, collisions occurred.  And before anybody leaps to any erroneous, presumptive conclusions, the fault was almost always with the other driver, typically rear-ending the Driver Training car due to inattention and/or following too close.  Fact is, Driver Training Schools enjoy the highest possible Fleet Discount with ICBC on their insurance (so there!).

So having initiated a number of claims with them over the years, I know that (a) one of the first questions the adjustor will ask is whether you have a phone number for the other party - because everything else, they pretty much know from the plate and license number you've provided, and (b) it can only stand in your favour that you were the first to report.  Always be the first to report; ICBC are, in this weird BC world where they have a monopoly, the insurer of, and must act on behalf of, both parties.

And it's obviously human nature that the person who feels they are the victim of the collision will be the most eager to make the claim.  The 30 day period is just so as to give the other party a reasonable amount of time to get in touch with their insurance company ... which is of course ICBC (unless they're from out of province).

So the wisest thing to do for now is chill; time is on your side, and you should be able to get your car fixed right away by an accredited ICBC Body Shop.  And remember, it's not your money that's being spent however this goes, so get the best repair and service available!