14 September 2023

Canberra's most dangerous roads: insurance data reveals the capital's car crash hotspots

| Lizzie Waymouth
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aerial shot of the Monaro Highway

It’s hoped the upcoming safety improvement works will change the Monaro Highway’s reputation as a crash hotspot. Photo: ACT Government.

Monaro Highway in Hume has been named the most dangerous hotspot for crashes in Canberra in insurance provider AAMI’s latest Crash Index.

AAMI analysed thousands of motor insurance claims from 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023 to determine the most dangerous roads in each capital city and territory, as well as some common crash statistics.

AAMI found that nose-to-tail crashes are the most common incident on ACT roads, accounting for 25 per cent of claims. On the Monaro Highway, this figure rose to 37 per cent.

“Tailgating, driver distraction and potentially road rage can lead to nose-to-tail collisions, and to avoid them, ACT drivers should travel at a safe distance behind the car in front and ensure they are paying attention at all times,” AAMI’s head of motor customer engagement Tammy Hall said.

“Most risks on the road can be mitigated if everyone pays attention and drives to the conditions. It’s up to all of us to do the right thing to ensure everyone’s safety on the road. All it takes is a split second of not having your eyes on the road for things to go wrong.

“AAMI is urging all ACT drivers to take care behind the wheel and help us reduce the number of crashes in the next year’s Crash Index,” Ms Hall said.

The most common time for crashes was the afternoon, with 26 per cent of incidents occurring in this period, while the most common day was Friday when 16 per cent of collisions occurred.

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The roads with the highest number of motor crash insurance claims were:

1. Monaro Highway, Hume

“Monaro Highway in Hume is a major thoroughfare, notorious for speeding, commuter traffic and speed changes, so it’s hardly surprising it’s been ranked the worst crash hotspot in Canberra,” Ms Hall said.

While the highway is a well-known crash hotspot in the ACT and has regularly featured in the top two in AAMI’s Crash Index, it’s hoped the upcoming safety improvements will help to change the statistics.

Safety improvements and intersection upgrades are due to occur at key locations along the Monaro Highway from Johnson Drive to the access road to the Alexander Maconochie Centre. This includes the intersections with Lanyon Drive and Isabella Drive and intersections with Mugga Lane, Tralee Street and Sheppard Street into Hume.

Construction is due to commence at the Lanyon Drive intersection in late 2023 as part of the first package of improvements under the project.

“There are many traffic light intersections which are quite dangerous and a contributing factor to crashes, but thankfully a major program of works is underway which will help to improve safety and hopefully bring down the number of crashes,” Ms Hall said.

For more information, visit the City Services website.

2. Canberra Avenue, Fyshwick

A busy, major arterial road taking drivers in and out of the city, Canberra Avenue can become congested at peak times, increasing the risk of crashes.

Canberra Avenue and Monaro Highway have been battling for the top spot for several years. Canberra Avenue was the capital’s crash hotspot in 2022 and has been number one several times over the past eight years.

“These hotspots are generally major roads, intersecting with local streets through high traffic industrial, educational and shopping centre precincts, making them consistently busy throughout the day,” Ms Hall said.

3. Gundaroo Drive, Gungahlin

After ranking eighth in 2022, Gundaroo Drive has risen higher this year.

It’s hoped that ongoing upgrades to double the number of lanes in both directions will help improve safety on this major road in the growing suburb of Gungahlin.

The second stage of the works is currently underway and due to be completed at the end of 2023.

4. Drakeford Drive, Kambah

Climbing from seventh place last year, Drakeford Drive is another major arterial road that has recorded an increase in motor collision claims over the past 12 months.

5. Monaro Highway, Fyshwick and Newcastle Street, Fyshwick

These two major roads in Fyshwick were tied for fifth place.

“With different parts of Fyshwick and the Monaro Highway appearing later in the list, it’s no surprise that their crossover point made our list to sit at number 5,” AAMI said.

“Be careful along this stretch of road and help improve the stats. Dropping back to share 5th place is Newcastle Street in Fyshwick, an arterial road in a suburb that frequents the Crash Index – it seems Fyshwick is still a hotspot no matter the road.”

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Completing this year’s list of the most dangerous roads in the ACT were:

6. Gungahlin Drive, down from third place in 2022

7. Pialligo Avenue, a new entrant to the list

8. Sulwood Drive in Kambah, up from ninth place in 2022

9. Majura Parkway, another new entrant.

“With these new locations appearing in the top 10, it shows that crashes can occur anywhere, and often when we’re close to home as that’s when we can let our guard down,” Ms Hall said.

“Even at low speeds, crashes can cause serious injury, or worse, so it’s vital to always pay attention while behind the wheel and expect the unexpected,” Ms Hall said.

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Has anyone been booked for tailgating – especially when causing an accident ? This morning, I saw a small sports car driving less than one car length behind another car in peak hour on Yamba Drive. It was a 1980s car without adaptive cruise control, emergency braking etc. I doubt my reaction time has ever been that good.

“Tailgating, driver distraction and potentially road rage can lead to nose-to-tail collisions, and to avoid them, ACT drivers should travel at a safe distance behind the car in front and ensure they are paying attention at all times,”

Well that’s great in theory, but in reality it’s difficult to achieve when the second you attempt to leave a reasonable breaking distance between yourself and the car in front of you, someone else pulls into it; In addition, the car behind you decides to tailgate so you have trouble slowing down to re-establish a safe braking distance without being rear ended.

Lets not even start with the slow vehicles that insist on sitting in the overtaking lane with 20 cars packed in behind them.

Canberra drivers are great…

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