Drivers will be safer now that traffic lights are operational

What could possibly add more safety to a precarious intersection than a shiny new set of traffic lights? Well… a roundabout for starters… since they are proven to be safer than intersections controlled by traffic lights. Where a roundabout is not feasible, however – including at the intersection of County Road 22 and Bennett Road – a traffic light is still logically much safer than a one direction stop sign meeting two lanes of busy traffic that does not stop. 

As is the case with many logical things, the traffic lights at Bennett Road and County Road 22 were opposed by many on social media, including comments on the Times’ own story. The argument? That the traffic lights will cause accidents, rather than prevent them. 

The traffic lights were finally put into operation late last week after a delay in waiting for the hydro work to be completed. The new system was paid for by a company on Bennett Road, in exchange for being able to increase the flow of dump trucks in and out of its property. 

The safety concern with the Bennett Road intersection lies in visibility. When looking left (south) down County Road 22 from a stopped position at Bennett Road, visibility is extremely short due to the CP rail bridge blocking the line of sight further down the road. Some social media users would have us believe that not allowing vehicles to turn left from Bennett Road until a traffic light commands County Road 22 traffic to stop somehow makes the intersection more dangerous. 

Social media users are wrong. The danger is far worse when a driver waiting at the stop sign makes a decision to turn only to have a car unexpectedly approach from the south, forcing the driver to slam on the brakes. Instead, an advanced warning system tells the County Road 22 driver that there is a red traffic light ahead. Might some drivers miss the light? Anything is possible, but there is no statistical logic in arguing that more accidents will be caused by expecting County Road 22 drivers to stop to occasionally allow Bennett Road drivers to proceed. That’s like saying that an unprotected railway crossing is made more dangerous by the addition of lights and gates, since some drivers might disobey the warning signals. 

Without hesitation, I applaud the decision to install a traffic light at the intersection in question. All drivers who travel in the area are now safer – whether or not they’re willing to accept it. 


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