Van Buren Street in Kemptville, looking west toward the spot where it intersects with Bridge Street and Raina Way. Photo by Ashley Sloan

A car accident last week at the intersection of Van Buren Street and Bridge Street/Raina Way led to what can be adequately described as a second “smash up” online. No one was hurt in the car accident, which resulted from one driver failing to yield the right of way. As often happens when it comes to the subject of driving in North Grenville, a social media post soon surfaced and a hot debate ensued. 

Many social media users pointed out a problem of speeding in Kemptville. The entirety of Kemptville (within town limits) has a special posted speed limit of just 40 km/h. Not only is this lower than the default speed limit for towns and cities in Ontario, but many areas in Kemptville are also enforced as “community safety zones” with increased fines for speeders. Many locals feel that despite the strict stance on speed limits, there is not enough enforcement in Kemptville, with speeding still a major problem on streets such as Van Buren Street. 

The original social media post called for a 4-way stop to be installed at the intersection where last week’s accident occurred. This too led to further debate, since some locals are keen to point out that an increase in safety would be good, while others make it clear that having intersections with too much control can slow and congest traffic. 

Decisions regarding what type of control to put on an intersection are not made lightly, and there are many factors that must first be taken into consideration. Many people are likely unaware that one such factor is whether putting “too much” control on an intersection that doesn’t need it will potentially cause disrespect for rules of the road in general. This means that although it may seem logically safer to always implement as much control as financially feasible at all intersections, this is not the case. 

When drivers come across an “over-controlled” intersection, such as a 4-way stop that barely ever has any cross traffic, they tend to lose respect for the value of all stop signs. Those who have driven on back roads may have observed certain 4-way stop intersections with excellent visibility where it is almost an unspoken “rule” that rolling through the intersection is acceptable. This is a great demonstration of what happens when 4-way stop intersections are overused. 

What then, is the solution to speeding and minor car accidents in town? The most logical answer seems to be – “pay attention!” Human error will always be the main cause of car accidents, and logically only three other factors can ever be at play – weather conditions, driver incapacitation, and vehicle failure. When drivers take the time to pay attention, respect the rules of the road, and drive defensively, the road becomes a safer place for everyone. Let’s do better, North Grenville!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here