Tailgating top reason for traffic crashes in Edmonton

Nearly 40 per cent of traffic collisions in Edmonton last year were caused by drivers getting too close to vehicles in front of them, the city said Monday as it released a list of the top 10 locations for following-too-closely collisions in 2016.

'Slowing down early before intersections can prevent you from having a very bad day'

More than 8,900 collisions in Edmonton last year were due to following too closely, the City of Edmonton said Monday. (Travis McEwan/CBC)

Nearly 40 per cent of all traffic collisions in Edmonton last year were caused by drivers getting too close to vehicles in front of them, the city said Monday as it released a list of the top 10 locations for following-too-closely collisions in 2016.

Of the total 23,149 collisions in the city last year, more than 8,900 were caused by tailgating.

The following-too-closely crashes resulted in 1,300 injuries.

The city said, however, that the number of following-too-closely collisions was down by 800 in 2016 compared to 2015.

Drivers are more prone to tailgate at certain intersections in the city, including several spots on Yellowhead, the city said in a news release.

A traffic safety culture survey released in January showed the most common reason Edmonton drivers give for tailgating is that the vehicle in front of them is not travelling as fast as they would like.

"Watching your speed and slowing down early before intersections can prevent you from having a very bad day," said senior research coordinator Laura Thue with the City of Edmonton's Office of Traffic Safety.

There were fewer collisions last year in part because the city upgraded three intersections to create sharper right-turn angles, city spokesperson Gary Dyck said.

That way, drivers are looking more to the left rather than behind them. 

Collisions from tailgating also happen when drivers are merging and watching over their shoulders for openings in traffic.They assume the vehicle ahead of them has gone, so they start to go, not realizing that the vehicle ahead has stopped.

Thue urged motorists to leave space between vehicles and to think about their driving habits. 

"You can reduce your odds of a being in rear-end collision with a simple change in how you drive," she said. "It's such an easy, simple thing to do." 

A city campaign called Vision Zero aims to have zero traffic fatalities and serious injuries.

The city's annual collision report with detailed statistics will be released in the spring.

Here are the Top 10 following-too-closely collision locations in 2016, and the number of collisions at each spot:

107th Avenue and 142nd Street  88
Yellowhead Trail and 121st Street  65
Yellowhead Trail and 149th Street 65
Yellowhead Trail and 127th Street58
23rd Avenue and 91st Street 46
34th Avenue and 91st Street44
Yellowhead Trail and Fort Road44
34th Avenue and Gateway Boulevard  43
34th Avenue and Calgary Trail41
137th Avenue and 97th Street  40
Rabbit Hill Road and Terwillegar Drive 40