A dangerous situation on the Outer Ring Road near Mount Pearl was intensified Thursday after some drivers began passing on the shoulder of the highway, not far from where responders were dealing with a three-vehicle collision. 

Emergency crews were attending to an accident near the off-ramp to Donovans Business Park when police officers began noticing vehicles passing nearby on the shoulder of the highway.

Officers with the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary issued four tickets.

RNC Const. Steve Curnew said such behaviour increased the risk of further accidents, and was also a danger to officers, firefighters, ambulance attendants and tow-truck operators.

Under the Highway Traffic Act, it is illegal to overtake another vehicle while driving on the shoulder of the road.

Outer Ring Road

An accident victim is taken to an awaiting ambulance following a three-vehicle collision on the Outer Ring Road near Mount Pearl Thursday afternoon. (CBC)

The traffic snarl began following an unusual accident shortly after 1 p.m.

A car travelling west lost control, went across the median and collided with two cars driving in the eastbound lanes. 

Two cars went into the ditch, while a third stayed on the roadway. Each car was occupied by a single person.

The highway was closed for some time as all three were taken by ambulance to hospital with what police say were non-life-threatening injuries.

Hundreds of vehicles were impacted by the road closure, and there are reports that some drivers began travelling in the wrong direction on some off-ramps.

Curnew said drivers have to be patient during such situations.

"That's for everyone's safety," he said.