5 of the most dangerous roads in Alberta
Drivers need to be aware of which highways and thruways pose the highest risk to their own safety and the safety of other road users.
If you live in Alberta, or necessitate a drive through the province, the roads discussed below have frequent and historic collision data. Do you know which roads should be avoided or detoured? You should also reassess your level of insurance coverage if you drive these roads often.
Long stretches of mundane road and landscape can make a driver inattentive or prone to distraction. A 2014 ‘Driver Attitude Survey’ conducted by the Alberta government found that “81 percent of Alberta drivers identified distracted driving as the main cause of collisions on Alberta roads.”
Most of the aggregate data used for this post comes from a political inquiry into fatal collision data between 2005 and 2014. Because of the datedness, we’ve pulled recent traffic headlines from Alberta local news to supplement the older information.
Every province has their own particularly dangerous roads, so buckle up for HUB Insurance Hunter’s Alberta edition.
Highway 3, between Fort MacLeod to Lethbridge
Twenty fatal collisions were reported on this popular roadway south of Calgary, Alberta, north of Montana, USA. It passes a few connecting intersections to many of Alberta’s southern highways.
In recent news, CTV Calgary reported that one man in his forties was killed in a head-on crash on June 25th, 2018.
Emergency officials stated that “an eastbound vehicle entered a westbound lane of Highway 3, approximately two kilometres west the Highway 509 intersection, and collided with an oncoming vehicle shortly after 5:00 p.m.”
Highway 9, east of Chestermere to east of Beiseker
Highway 9 is a particularly perilous road, recording 15 fatal collisions between 2005 and 2014.
This year saw more fatal crashes added to Highway 9’s file. The highway contains a portion of passable “S” curves that have proven deadly for drivers.
A Global News reporter called a recent collision here on April 20th, 2018 “another horrific wreck” on Highway 9 after three people lost their lives following a collision just south of Beiseker on the south end of a big, serpentine curve.
Frequent drivers on this highway (even the mayor of a nearby town) decry the curving road as dangerous, especially when cars are allowed to pass each other, even as it's curving.
Two years earlier, in 2016, on the northern “S” curve of this 5-kilometre stretch, a well-known Calgary chef named Jonathan Sobol and videographer Alec Bracegirdle were killed when a cube van collided head-on with their car, after “legally passing a semitruck.”
The section where Sobol and Bracegirdle were killed eventually had passing forbidden, but the section where the April 20th crash occurred still allowed passing at the time. The vehicles left on scene were barely recognizable.
Highway 43, between DeBolt and Valleyview
There were 16 fatal collisions here over the nine year period before 2014, and recent news shows that the collisions keep happening.
On March 21st, 2018, just a bit south of Valleyview on Highway 43, the westbound lanes of the roadway experienced a multivehicle crash and pileup on a blistering winter afternoon in Northern Alberta.
Luckily, no injuries were reported, however, people were stranded and vehicle damage was extensive. Always have an emergency kit prepared in your winter vehicle containing heating devices and blankets should you ever fall victim to a collision in frigid temperatures.
Highway 44, Yellowhead Highway up to Westlock
Highway 44, a bit west of Edmonton, had 22 fatal crashes recorded between 2005 and 2014, and it continues to be treacherous for road users.
On August 4th, 2018, a “deadly crash involving an SUV and a car” occurred at the intersection of Highway 37 and 44, northwest of St. Albert. Both occupants of the sedan, travelling south on 44, were pronounced dead at the scene after being struck by the westbound SUV. The people in the SUV survived.
Highway 63, north of Edmonton towards Fort McMurray
In our article titled 5 of the most dangerous roads in Canada, one of Alberta’s most notorious made the list, the Highway of Death.
“Since 1990, at least 149 people have died on this two-lane highway. 125 of them were killed on a 240km stretch of road between Grassland and Fort McMurray in Alberta’s mid-north. The road itself has earned the nickname ‘Highway of Death’ for these tragic reasons.”
Researching for this post today, on September 12th 2018, a mere 6 hours before the time of writing, a “semi hauling crude” lost control and rolled over on Highway 63, spilling oil contaminants all over the road and forcing a closure for cleanup, according to Global News.
Earlier this year, on January 15th, “a young man from … British Columbia was killed in a collision between two [semitrucks] on Highway 63 around 4:30 p.m.”
Two weeks earlier, a pickup truck driver was killed on the same highway outside Fort McKay.
A month before that, two triplet sisters were tragically killed on the same highway, south of Fort McMurray.
The title Highway of Death isn’t just handed out, it’s tragically and unfortunately earned.
If you plan on travelling long distances on anyhighway, do your research before heading out, especially in unfamiliar territory.
Always pack an emergency kit in your car, maintain safe travelling distance, and obey the speed limit. Make sure you have the correct insurance for the needs of you, your family and your province.