/Two lanes

Two lanes

By Chad Ingram
weekend before last I was driving northbound on Highway 35, just north
of Carnarvon, with a long, steady stream of southbound traffic in the
other lane. As I came over a rise in the hilly stretch between the
hamlet and the Beech River, coming toward me in my lane was a large,
black pickup truck, boat in tow, the driver attempting to make a pass
where he should not have been. 
slammed on my brakes, coming to a complete stop, and remained
stationary. The other driver, realizing he was not going to make the
pass he was attempting, slowed, and had to be let back into the
southbound lane by another driver, since the line of traffic was so
thick. I just sat there staring from behind my steering wheel. 
minutes earlier during that same trip, I’d passed the site of a
collision on the highway in Minden. It looked relatively minor, and was
fresh enough that a citizen was directing traffic as police and EMS were
showing up. There were a few collisions that weekend, including one
that was fatal, and there have been a number since. 
and August are of course boom time in Haliburton County, its year-round
population of some 18,000 ballooning to 60,000 or more, depending on
the day, with a massive influx of seasonal residents and visitors. Its
normally quiet roads can become densely packed with vehicles, many of
those vehicles seemingly in a big rush to get wherever they are going. 
well above 100 kilometres an hour is of course common practice on
multi-lane, 400-series highways, and aggressive driving in the city is
basically necessary if one hopes to get anywhere at all. However, those
techniques don’t always translate well to the roads and “highways” of
the Haliburton Highlands, which are not paved to the same level as
multi-lane highways, and, with the exception of a few stretches of
Highway 35, are two-lane roads where drivers sharing the same stretch of
asphalt are headed in opposite directions. What would amount to a
sideswipe on a 400-series highway can become a head-on collision on a
two-lane highway. 
traffic to and from cottage country seems to only get thicker each
year. I spent part of the civic long weekend southwest of the GTA, and
driving back to the county Monday night, was astounded by the unceasing
lines of city-bound cars along highways 48, 12 and 35. Thousands and
thousands of them. 

such volumes of traffic, it’s understandable that people want to do
their best to minimize their commute time. However, moving up a few
spaces in an unimaginably long line of cars, or shaving a few minutes
off a two- or three-hour journey really isn’t worth the damage that can
come with risky manoeuvres on two-lane highways.