Tips to prevent collisions at intersections

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It can be an easy thing to do if you’re in a hurry: you’re turning right on a red light and no one is coming from the other way so you roll around the corner and continue on your way. With a new focus each month this year, local police forces are focusing on intersection safety.

During the month of January, police have been focusing some of their resources on intersections and ensuring motorists follow proper intersection laws and safety rules. This initiative is part of the Traffic Road Safety Program. As part of the program, New Glasgow Regional Police Const. Ken MacDonald shared some of the leading causes of collisions in intersections, which he said is an area where a high percentage of collisions happen.

The first reasons for collisions is drivers follow too closely to the car in front of them; speed going through and approaching intersections are other factor that can cause collisions. Going through or rushing to get through an amber light before it turns red is another cause of collisions along with driver inattention that can be caused by anything from being on the phone or texting to reaching to get something or talking to someone in the back seat.The final main factor that can cause a collision in an intersection is making a right-hand turn on a red light without stopping before making the turn, even if there are no cars coming.

MacDonald cited the last reason as a big problem in some of the priority intersections police often receive complaints about around New Glasgow.

The Pictou County District RCMP have also offered tips on intersection safety for the benefit of motorists and pedestrians alike.

“When arriving at an uncontrolled intersection that has no traffic control device such as signs and signals, always check to the left and right for oncoming traffic. Slow down and always be prepared to stop. Make sure to yield the right of way to the vehicle on the right,” said RCMP Const. Paul Vanderlaan in this month’s From the Cruiser article.

Another tip he shared: ”If you see a flashing light at any intersection you must come to a complete stop before crossing the stop line or crosswalk. If you have a flashing amber light at the intersection then proceed with caution when safe to do so, after yielding to other oncoming traffic and pedestrians in the intersection.”

Editor’s Note: New Glasgow resident Denise Pitts, who was one of the first people on the scene of Friday’s collision at the intersection of Summer and Park streets, shares her views on the crash.

I was two feet from the intersection when I heard the unmistakable sound of a crash with metal hitting metal. Two cars had just collided in the intersection. Before I could even think, my feet were moving towards the scene to assist. A man had pulled over in his truck and was walking toward the scene as well. I asked if he had a cell phone and instructed him to call 911 for assistance. The young male driver from one of the cars was hit on the passenger side and was not injured. My attention turned to the female driver of the other car that had been struck on the driver’s side. She was behind the wheel, trembling, crying and in obvious pain and shock. Instincts kicked in as I opened her door and instructed her not to move. I got her to focus on her breathing and asked for details like her name and age. I told her not to worry, that emergency services were on the way. The police arrived first. Darryl Paris was the responding officer. He got in the passenger seat of the female’s car and asked questions about her injuries. His manner was gentle, yet professional as he asked the woman if there was anyone he could call. He secured her wallet and health card for EMT staff. He exited the vehicle to direct the flow of traffic. The ambulance arrived quickly and I gave details that I knew to the EMT staff. As I walked away from the accident the reality of what I had witnessed set in. I was physically shaking and finding it hard to breathe. I arrived home and called a friend. I did some breathing and calmed myself down. In hindsight, I would not have done anything differently. I am glad that I was able to help in a small way. I am glad that we have trained professionals that are able to respond in times of need. My final wish is that the young lady and the young man are safe and well.

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