Hydroplaning the cause of many Inland Island Highway accidents

There are dangerous deep pools of water that form on the Inland Island Highway (IIH) all the way from Campbell River to Parksville.

There is a section of the highway, near the Parksville Qualicum turnoff on the southbound lane, that is particularly dangerous, where accidents occur regularly during rainy periods. Last October, the BC Supreme Court dealt with a serious case that happened near the Pacific Rim National Park sign on the IIH.

This case had come before the court after a mother and her young son were driving southward in that area. The mother lost control during a downpour. The vehicle spun into the median, rolled over and landed on the northbound highway. Her son was ejected from the vehicle and they were both seriously injured.

Five months have passed since the court brought down the decision that found the province negligent in the construction of the median on that section of the road. Despite the court ruling that determined the median was too steep, too deep and too wet, no repairs to my knowledge have been undertaken since that date. The medians were meant to provide a level of safety for errant vehicles which leave the road for whatever reason including hydroplaning. Tow truck drivers, fire departments and first responders tell me they are constantly hauling cars out of this specific area, as well as other danger spots north to Campbell River.

As users of the highway, we need to stay alert to the very real danger of driving the route during rainstorms between Campbell River and Parksville-Qualicum. Reduce speed through the pools. Tell your area MLA about your concerns. Ask for more specific highway warning signage where accidents regularly occur. Request that the Ministry of Transportation Minister, Todd Stone, schedule immediate repair of wrongly-built medians and the rebuild of highway sections where water gathers in wide pools causing such horrendous accidents.

Morgan Ostler,

Seniors Making A Safer Highway (SMASH)ing Grannies