IN THE wake of yet another collision at the intersection of the South Gippsland Highway and the main road into Foster, police are calling on drivers to take more care.
“I think we have been fortunate that there has not been a fatality – yet,” said Foster police sergeant Neil Coates. “There have been multiple collisions at this intersection over a number of years. People should take due care entering or leaving the intersection.”
The latest collision at the notorious intersection occurred around 5.20pm on Monday of last week. A 20-year-old woman from Foster, with an 18-year-old passenger, came up Toora Road from Foster and stopped her vehicle at the Give Way sign. She observed a vehicle turning left off the highway into Foster, but failed to observe the vehicle behind it, which was going straight through. She turned right and a collision occurred. Police from Foster and Toora attended the scene.
The woman and her passenger, fortunately not seriously injured, were taken by ambulance to hospital in Foster for a check-up. The driver of the other vehicle, a 25-year-old Leongatha man, was not injured and did not require hospitalisation.
The 20-year-old was issued with a penalty notice, including a fine of $253 and three demerit points.
There was very little to distinguish this latest collision from the two others that have occurred in recent months – one on June 19 last year and another on December 2.
“All of these collisions have resulted in the offending driver receiving a penalty notice for failing to give way at an intersection,” said Sgt Coates. “In two cases the offending driver has come through the Give Way sign, intending to turn right towards Toora and failing to give way to traffic on their right on the highway. In the third case the driver had come down the highway from the direction of Leongatha and was intending to turn right into Foster but failed to give way to traffic coming along the highway from the direction of Toora.”
“Each incident has clearly been a case of driver error, in which drivers have either failed to see the approaching vehicles or made the assumption that there was no vehicle following a vehicle making a left turn into Foster,” continued Sgt Coates.
“In two out of the three most recent accidents the offending drivers were from the local area.”
Only last December VicRoads completed a number of safety improvements at the intersection, including removing vegetation and an embankment on the inside of the curve to improve visibility. New street lighting was also installed to improve night time visibility at the intersection, as well as some alterations for the left turning lane to make it safer for motorists turning at the intersection.
VicRoads Regional Director Raymond Paterson said he was disappointed that despite the introduction of the safety measures there had been further incidents at the intersection.
“Motorists are reminded to take care when entering highway traffic from side roads,” he stressed.
He said there were no immediate plans for VicRoads to introduce further improvements, but the road authority will continue to monitor the safety and operation of the intersection.
Sgt Coates reiterated Mr Paterson’s warning: “People need to take their time and look carefully before executing a turn.”