Why Would a Highwaycam Go Down during a Traffic Incident?

We receive a lot of questions about our BC highwaycams. We’ve talked about some of the more popular ones in You Asked: The Top Five DriveBC WebCam Questions. But lately there’s been another question that’s come up: why do highwaycams go down when there’s been a traffic incident nearby? Just to be clear, highway cams don’t always go down when there’s been an incident, and if they do, you can be sure we’re working to get them back up and running again as quickly as possible. However, if you’ve heard there’s been an incident and you find a highway cam isn’t working at that location, there can be a number of reasons why. Here are the four most common.

  1. Bad Weather
    Wind, rain, snow, ice, all the same weather that makes it difficult to operate a motor vehicle can make things challenging for our webcams, too. Many of our cams use hydro power, satellite and cellular signals, both of which can be easily disrupted in bad weather. So sometimes when a cam goes down and an incident has just happened, it’s just a coincidence.
  2. Cam a Casualty
    If there’s been a serious incident near a traffic cam, it’s possible the cam could be directly affected by it. Its power could be cut, the supporting pole for the camera could be broken, or any number of things could happen to affect its ability to show what it’s supposed to.
  3. Cam Needed to Monitor
    Some of our cameras are PTZ (pan, tilt and zoom). These kinds of cameras can be controlled remotely by operators, who monitor traffic conditions, allowing them to move the cameras around to get a better look at what’s going on. This can be a really important tool, allowing us to monitor how events are unfolding. If this happens, the public may find the camera turned off, as the cam won’t be behaving as they expect it to.
  4. Respect for Privacy
    Sometimes the camera is working fine and staff doesn’t need to use it, but we’ll still turn it off. Why? Well, a big part is out of respect for privacy. If people are seriously hurt or killed, we don’t want to showcase that for everyone to see. That said, if it’s a minor fender-bender, and the accident is just affecting traffic, we’ll probably leave the camera on to keep people informed.

Do you have any other webcam questions you’d like answered? If so, leave us a comment below, or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter and let us know.

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      • I agree with the need for a camera here but a caution warning light with a slower speed limit in that area is required. This is a scary piece of road when traffic is heavy and when wet it is worse. With the higher speed limit the trucks and distracted drivers make me use the Highway 7 route.