Guardrail crashes cause few injuries – this time at least

Over the last month, there have been two accidents involving guardrails in Ontario.

The first happened in late January, when a car went right through a guardrail on the Don Valley Parkway, landing in the Don River. The accident took place in the southbound lanes of the highway near the Gardiner Expressway. The driver wasn’t seriously injured.

The second accident occurred at the intersection of Wharncliffe Road and Horton St. in London, Ontario on Feb. 20. A three-car crash occurred in the early afternoon that forced a vehicle up on the sidewalk where it struck a railing.

CTV London reported on the incident and made no mention of injuries — although London police did point out that the vehicles had about $13,000 in damages between them and that there was $500 in damage to the rail.

In photos of the second accident, it appears as though a segment of the metal barrier pierced the front windshield on the passenger’s side. If there had been a passenger in the vehicle, they could have been seriously injured.

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Kelda Yuen / CTV London)

Both of these incidents involved safety mechanisms, but it is unknown whether or not they worked properly.The guardrail along the DVP is designed to redirect vehicles if struck. In this case the vehicle penetrated the guide rail and went right down into the Don River. There is a definite guardrail failure here; whether it was impact conditions, weather, or lack of maintenance is to be determined. The harpooning of the windshield in the second accident blatantly shows the need for better reporting and consideration of safety standards for mechanisms such as metal road barriers.

No police reports were released in either case regarding the cause of the accident or how effective the safety mechanism struck were. News articles were four small paragraphs long, indicating the “what” and “where” of the story. This is reflective of a society that doesn’t understand the impact these safety mechanisms should be making. Police and reporters alike aren’t asking if this type of damage could have been prevented. Without better documentation and better standards, the provincial government won’t be able to ensure these products are of the highest quality — because next time the injuries could be much more severe.

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