Careless driving still possible on highway ramps
What is the speed limit of the lengthy Eglinton on-ramp to Hwy. 401 (via Hwy. 27/427)? Is it the 60 km/h limit of Eglinton or the 100 km/h limit of the highway?
Ontario Transportation Ministry spokesperson Bob Nichols replies: If travelling west on Eglinton, about 400 metres west of Martin Grove Rd., you have the option of making a left turn to continue on Eglinton Ave. West, or you can enter a controlled access ramp that provides access to Hwy. 27 and Hwy. 427 and then merges onto Hwy. 401 West.
Once a motorist enters the controlled access ramp, this section of roadway becomes part of Hwy. 401. The speed limit for Hwy. 401 is 100 km/h, as per Ontario Reg. 619.
If a ramp can be safely driven at 100 km/h, we would not normally post 100 km/h regulatory speed signs. The yellow speed signs on ramps are advisory in nature. Black and white rectangular signs along provincial roads/highways display the enforced speed limit.
There are two parts to a freeway entrance, an entrance ramp and an acceleration lane. As a driver leaves the entrance ramp and enters the acceleration lane, they are required to increase their speed to the speed of the traffic/speed limit on the freeway before they merge with it.
The regulatory speed limit for 400-series ramps is the same as for the 400-series highway itself, so in this case the legal speed limit is 100 km/h.
Eric Lai adds: While the ramp speed limit is technically 100 km/h, you could be charged with careless driving if you were to drive dangerously fast and lose control, particularly on snow or ice.
Engineering traffic lights or human behaviour?
“With regard to a recent article quoting Steve Kemp, a traffic management engineer with York Region, on how traffic lights are timed to give some drivers all greens en route and, conversely, others get all reds.
“Engineers, like myself, are great at solving technical problems concerning technical issues, but we’re typically lousy at solving problems involving human nature.
“If the vehicles were all driven by computers, the traffic system he manages would work perfectly as planned. However, with people, the law of unintended consequences will rule. More chaos is created by human drivers racing to make the next green light, or stalling to synchronize themselves to the greens, than all his co-ordination and timing of greens and reds for traffic flow can hope to overcome.
“Traffic engineers should try some randomization one day. I think they’d be surprised at how much faster traffic would flow across the entire region.”
Email your non-mechanical questions to Eric Lai at email@example.com. Due to the volume of mail, personal replies cannot be provided.