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Wellington and Commissioners (CRAIG GLOVER, The London Free Press)

More than 80,000 vehicles travel through Wellington and Commissioners roads every day and 17 lanes feed into the busy intersection, making it London’s busiest and most crash-prone. Kelly Pedro breaks down the 24 crashes that occurred there last year and explains why rear-end collisions make up more than half of them.

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The crashes

More than half the crashes at the busy intersection of Wellington and Commissioners roads last year were rear-end collisions — 58%.

The others were a mix of vehicles sideswiping one another or colliding while turning, but it’s the various directions of travel and lots of stopping and starting that seems to stump drivers the most, leading to rear-end crashes.

“Whenever you add a sequence of advance signals . . . some of those are crashes that are caused by anticipation,” said London police Sgt. Ryan Scrivens, who heads the force’s traffic-management unit.

Drivers expect the red light to turn green, or expect the vehicle in front of them will run the yellow light — and it doesn’t — or think the vehicle ahead of them is going to make their right or left turn — and doesn’t — leading to crashes.

“Those are some of the most common types of collisions,” Scrivens said.

Another factor? Snow.

Scrivens said the number of rear-end crashes spikes after the first snowfall as drivers don’t leave enough room between their vehicle and the one in front of them.

Why they’re happening

Quite simply: Inattentive drivers.

“All it takes is one inattentive driver following too close or driving too aggressively . . . That’s why we see a propensity of rear-end collisions at that intersection,” Scrivens said.

Couple that with all the directions of travel and vehicles entering or leaving the host of private driveways in the area for gas stations, grocery stores, drug stores, restaurants and plazas, and the risk of collisions goes up if drivers aren’t careful or paying attention.

“All it takes is one person,” Scrivens said.

What police are doing

“Education is a key part, reminding the public of safe driving practices and leaving ample distance between themselves and the vehicle ahead of them,” Scrivens said.

Police will also position cruisers near the intersection to act as a deterrent or use officers in plain clothes to catch people talking on cellphones or breaking the rules of the road.

Officers also clock vehicles travelling toward the intersection to force them to slow down, Scrivens said.

“Every driver is responsible for their own actions. As long as people are driving in accordance with the law and the way they should be, most of these collisions are preventable.”

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By the numbers

80,000: Vehicles going through the intersection daily

58: Percentage of rear-end collisions

10: Crashes that happened in the morning

14: Crashes that happened in the afternoon

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Types of crashes

Head-on 1

Broadside 2

Rear end 14

Sideswipe 2

Turning 3

Single-vehicle 2

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Crashes per month

January 3

February 2

March 3

April 0

May 2

June 4

July 1

August 1

September 4

October 1

November 2

December 1

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Top 10 crash-prone intersections in 2012

  • Wellington-Commissioners
  • Wellington-Exeter
  • Wonderland-Oxford
  • Wonderland-Southdale
  • Wharncliffe-Oxford
  • Highbury-Huron
  • Oxford-Adelaide
  • Wellington-Bradley
  • Oxford-Richmond
  • Sarnia-Wonderland

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