Thursday, September 1, 2016

HOV Lanes

The HOV lanes I am going to be talking about are the High Occupancy Vehicle lanes on busy highways.

High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Lanes
High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes help move more people on Ontario's busiest highways. They are restricted to certain types of vehicles carrying at least 2 people. Make sure you know and follow the rules for entering and exiting HOV lanes.

Using HOV lanes
You can use an HOV lane if you have at least two people (including the driver) in one of these vehicles :
  • cars
  • motorcycles
  • vans or light trucks
  • commercial trucks less than 6.5 meters long with a gross weight of 4,500 kg or less.
If you are towing a trailer, you can still use the HOV lane if the combined vehicle-trailer length is less than 6.5 meters.
The following vehicles have unrestricted access to HOV lanes, no matter how many passengers they are carrying :
  • buses of all types
  • licensed taxis and airport limousines until June 30, 2018
  • emergency vehicles
  • vehicles with Ontario green licence plates
The penalty for improper HOV lane use is a fine of $110 and 3 demerit points.

Entering and exiting HOV lanes
You can enter and exit the HOV lane only at designated points. These points are about 400 metres long and are generally available every 2-4 kilometres. They are clearly marked by signs, white broken lines and diamond pavement markings. It is illegal and unsafe to enter or exit an HOV lane by crossing the striped buffer zone.

I decided that before I even did my writing I was going to outline what is said on the Ministry of Transportation about the High Occupancy Lanes and the rules that go along with using these lanes.

One thing that I have noticed is that people do not respect the rules of using these lanes on some of the highways where these lanes are part of the regular routes. The rules clearly state that there needs to be at least 2 people in the vehicle otherwise it must meet some of the unrestricted rules. I have seen so many vehicles with just one person in it using the lane which is extremely frustrating for the people are the correctly using the lane. When other vehicles are obeying the rules of the road and are not in the HOV lane because there is only one person in the vehicle it actually encourages them to also disobey the rules because they see no one getting caught using these lanes.

The other thing that I see quite often is vehicles crossing the double line to either enter or exit the HOV lanes. The double lines are there for a reason and there are locations that will let you either enter or exit the HOV lanes with enough time to get to the exit that you want to reach. The only time I would understand someone crossing the double line is if there was a total blockage of the HOV lanes due to an accident and then yes you would have to cross the line to get around the accident.

All the HOV lanes in Ontario are on the 400 series highways so the rules applying to these lanes are enforced by the OPP and not municipal law enforcement. Yes, you can receive tickets for illegal use of the lane or for illegally crossing the double sold lines.

The HOV lanes were designed to assist people that were carpooling to benefit from these lanes and not for the individuals that just think they are better than everyone else to use these lanes to bypass a lot of traffic. There have been cases that I have seen cars cut into the HOV lanes especially near a merger point of these lanes to just get ahead of a few cars, again which is illegal. The other thing that the HOV lanes promote is less stress but I have to admit that when you are sitting in traffic and obeying the rules of the HOV lanes and you see multiple cars in the HOV lanes with only one person in it that doesn’t reduce stress for anyone.

If you do use the HOV lane please remember the rules that do apply and obey them. The HOV lanes are designed to assist in the flow of the traffic for everyone and if you think you are above the rules of the road then you are just increasing the risk of accidents because of either yourself or another driver doing something that normally they wouldn’t. The HOV lanes are nice to use sometimes but there is always the risk that someone will illegally cross the solid lane because they just want to get some where faster and cause an accident because they didn’t look to see if the HOV lane was actually clear.

The HOV lanes are there for a reason so please remember that by obeying the rules of the road it could help everyone.

No comments:

Post a Comment