Have Argyll & Bute Council instate traffic lights on the A814 Ardarden junction.
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Anyone who lives locally or drives the A814 between Helensburgh and Cardross often knows that the junction to enter/exit Ardarden garden centre is renowned for its near misses.
Unfortunately, on Sunday 28th January, we were not lucky enough to miss. A car pulled out of this junction and onto the 60mph main road right in front of our car, with no time for us to stop. My partners quick responses saved us from killing the driver - instead we swerved, hit her back end, took down a road sign and rolled our car into a tree. Our three children - my daughter, 5, and my partner’s children 6 and 4 - were in the back. Terrified, two of them dangling by nothing but their seatbelts and one by the end of it lying in a pool of broken glass.
Thank God, none of them were hurt. In fact, by some miracle (and the bravery of passers by and our emergency services) we all got out of the car with no serious injuries. I have whiplash and my 5 year old has damage to her cartilage around her ribs from being suspended by her seatbelt. If we hadn’t hit the tree, we’d have rolled down a hill and all five of us would be dead. But we are aware that we were so, so lucky.
Unfortunately, this junction is the site of many accidents. Cars travelling from Helensburgh cannot be seen from the junction until the last second, cars travelling on the main road do not maintain a legal speed sometimes and, unfortunately, as was the case with us, people fly out from the junction into the main road with apparently not a care in the world.
Ardarden currently proposes plans to install a ghost island at the entrance as part of its expansion. However I don’t think this is enough. It will not force people to maintain a safe speed or to stop and check before leaving the junction - which would have saved us some pain and a lot of trauma.
I am proposing that the site have traffic lights installed, with sensors so that they don’t need to be in use if there is nobody waiting to leave the Ardarden site. This will force people to wait at that junction until it is safe to leave. Due to the blind bend on one side, this may include relocating the junction slightly further down the straight stretch of road. This would absolutely be possible with the layout of the entrance, and would be worth it to save lives.
The outcome could have been so much worse for us. And if it had been, it wouldn’t just have affected the five of us in that car. My partner’s children have a loving mother, my daughter a loving father, we all have huge families who’s lives could have been ruined that day due to thoughtless driving. Please help me make sure that never ever happens to someone else.
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