Drivers fail at intersections

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By Linda Clarke

The Ashburton District Council is doubling down on its efforts to stop people dying or being hurt at intersections.

Council engineer Martin Lo said there were 3000 intersections in the district and many of last year’s fatal crashes were at intersections. Nine people died on roads in the district in 2019.

A renewed campaign, using billboards, newspaper advertising and social media, is about to start reminding drivers to be attentive at intersections.

“This year we are doubling down and putting more emphasis on intersections and reminding people of rural intersections,” Mr Lo told the Ashburton District Road Safety Co-ordinating Committee on Tuesday.

A big 6m x 3m billboard will be erected alongside State Highway 1 and advance warning signs will be erected near the McCrorys Road and Mainwaring Road intersection, advising there is a give way and cross road junction ahead. The intersection of Melcombe Street and Maronan Road will also be improved soon.

Ashburton police have given out 191 tickets for intersection offences (failing to stop or give way) this year and Canterbury highway staff, which includes Mid Canterbury, gave out 193.

Cr Liz McMillan wanted to know why the district had such a problem with intersections. Poor driving or driving without awareness was the answer.

Mr Lo said the district’s rural roads were long and people forgot there were intersections ahead. Drivers were on auto-pilot or had tunnel vision.

Ashburton police have issued 382 tickets for speeding offences this year and caught several hundred people for breaching the conditions of their learner or restricted licences, including a 56-year-old woman on her learner’s for 28 years.