Canada's most notorious highways

Two massive pileups on Ontario's Highway 401 remind drivers that some highways can be dangerous. These five have quite the notorious reputation.
Traffic was backed up for nearly six kilometres on a deadly stretch of the 401 near Ingersoll, Ont., on Friday as nearly 50 vehicles were caught up in a chain-reaction collision. (Dave Chidley/ Canadian Press)

Every four hours someone in Canada dies in a road crash, according to Transport Canada. The majority of those deaths happen on roads with a speed limit higher than 60 km/hr.

That number is based on the 125,000 crashes across Canada in 2010 in which someone was killed or injured, which is actually the lowest annual total since Transport Canada began collecting the data in the early 1970s.

More recently, two massive pileups on Ontario's Highway 401, one eight days ago and another Friday, remind drivers that certain highways can be particularly dangerous. In fact, some have quite a notorious reputation when it comes to crashes.

These are five of them:

Highway 63, Alberta

Since 2006, about 50 people have died on this 240-km stretch of highway, which links the Edmonton area to the Alberta oilsands, according to Canadian Press.

Even a loaded transport was no match for windgusts that reached over 100 km/hr near Wreckhouse in southwestern Newfoundland in 2008. (Photo courtesy Wayne Osmond)

In 2008, CBC reported, "there were more than 1,000 crashes on the highway between 2001 and 2005, killing 25 people and injuring 257 others."

Twinning, which the Alberta government says will improve safety, has been underway since 2006, with completion expected in 2016. The government also says 40 per cent of the collisions on Highway 63 involve animals.

RCMP closed Highway 63 for 24 hours on Jan. 19 due to poor driving conditions. Two days later the driver of a pick-up truck died in a collision with a tractor trailer at kilometre 99.

Highway 401, Windsor to London, Ont.

Nicknamed Carnage Alley in the 1990s because of numerous crashes, Highway 401 between Windsor and London runs straight through a nondescript, boring agricultural landscape.

On the first morning of Labour  Day weekend in 1999, this stretch saw the worst pileup in the country’s history. The collisions, in very dense fog, involved 87 vehicles and left eight people dead and 45 injured.

Highway 401, Pickering to Oshawa, Ont.

According to data collected by the Ontario Provincial Police, the section of the 401 east of Toronto, between Whites Rd. in Pickering, and Courtice Rd., just east of Oshawa, has the highest number of traffic accidents in the province.

On Jan. 25, a massive pileup involving up to 80 vehicles snarled traffic for hours on the 401 east of Oshawa. Five people were injured.

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Autoroute 40, Quebec

This highway, one of two main routes between Montreal and Quebec City, has long been known for its deteriorating road conditions.

In 2005 a section of Autoroute 40 was closed for days after part of the road near Trois-Rivières collapsed into a hole.

In December, part of the highway west of Quebec City was closed for 10 hours after a 27-vehicle pileup, which injured at least 20 people.

Highway 103, Nova Scotia

Running along the south shore between Halifax and Yarmouth, Highway 103 earned the reputation as Nova Scotia's deadliest highway, following 29 deaths between 2006 to 2008.

Asked about those crashes in 2009, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said upgrading the highway was "the priority the province and ourselves have identified immediately."

In December 2012 a passenger was killed in a single vehicle crash on Highway 103 near Clyde River and, in November, a driver died after a collision with a truck on the highway near Liverpool.