President, Rockwood Homeowners' Association
Traffic, GTA (Greater Toronto Area) road congestion and transit plans are hot topics during the ongoing election campaigns of political candidates and they receive lots of media attention. Frequently, we waste precious time and are delayed in arriving at our destination because of this gridlock.
We tend to blame it on an insufficient road network, too many vehicles on the road or inadequate public transit. The existing network of GTA roads do not need major expansion to reduce the congestion. One of the major reasons for gridlock is that drivers do not use existing road lanes efficiently because of their lack of knowledge, selfishness, or ignorance.
A prime example is blocking the left (passing) lane.
Many drivers believe that the rule, “keep right except to pass”, applies only to the intercity highways, not city roads. Others think that driving above the posted speed limits or making a left turn a few kilometers down the road, gives them the right to occupy the passing lane. Driving in such a manner negatively affects traffic flow, is a safety hazard to other drivers (forces drivers to switch lanes), reduces fuel efficiency and, creates increased air pollution. Driving in the centre or left lane when the right lane is available is a violation of Ontario’s traffic laws. Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act (HTA) regulation 147(1) states, “Any vehicle travelling upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at that time and place shall, where practicable, be driven in the right-hand
lane then available for traffic or as close as practicable to the right hand curb or edge of the roadway“. This law applies to multilane city roads such as Hurontario St., Dixie Rd., Burnhamthorpe Rd. and many others.
Some possible suggestions to encourage driving within the right lane are:
- Install signs “keep right except to pass” on road sides in the GTA, similar to the signs installed on the 400 series highways.
- Police should enforce the HTA regulation 147(1) on drivers.
- We should educate though a mass media campaign targeted to
all drivers, especially new and young drivers at “Driving Schools”, on
the importance of driving within the right-hand lane.
All drivers should remember that by using the road
lanes properly and exercising good driving habits,
gridlock on the roads may be reduced.