They happen all too often..Think before overtaking.

Above: Riders look on in 2010 as the A9 was blocked off after the 2010 accident.

As a photographer, I've attended a fair few accidents on the A9 road, only a few you could leave without feeling sad at what has just happened to someones loved on, or at least someones immediate health.

Above: 2010 and a Shearings coach full of tourers crashes off the A9, thankfully there were no serious injuries.

According to the A9 Safety Group, on the Perth to Tore Roundabout stretch 63% of fatal accidents are head on collisions. Head on accidents mostly happen because one driver is attempting to overtake another for whatever reason. By making a bad judgement call, the overtaking driver is potentially about to take the life of the driver/couple/family coming the opposite way. In some cases, the vehicle coming the opposite way has no time to react or no escape route away from the oncoming "weapon", life is from that on a Dice.

Slow moving vehicles such as lorries can prompt drivers to overtake, trying to make progress, but this is not the final story. Because many lorries travel under the maximum speed limit, it is often the case that another lorry driver chooses to overtake the slower lorry. On the dual section this can cause a simple inconvenience to cars who have been waiting for dual carriageway to overtake the lorries, only for one lorry to snake slowly past the slower lorry holding everyone up. On single carriageway one lorry overtaking another can be a potential killer situation.

Many stretches of the A9 can be deceitful, looking like a long straight "safe" stretch of road to overtake, that stretch can run out really quick, leaving the overtaking driver to cut in quickly after the manoeuvre. Making the situation worse is when (It happens, I travel this road regularly) a car being overtaken speeds up when the manoeuvre by the other car is not complete yet, this is simply dangerous and only aids the possibility of an accident.

A few accidents I have seen have been ones where no other vehicle is involved, a car crashing into an object roadside, a bus (I've seen 3) leave the road due to snow/ice and loss of control and more.

So, we have cars overtaking cars, cars overtaking lorries, lorries overtaking lorries and all of them have to be perfectly timed, otherwise we have the potential for problems.

The local emergency services in the Scottish Highlands are simply amazing, they deal with the most harrowing of situations under the most difficult conditions, they are totally underrated and underpaid.

One particular accident scene will not leave my mind, and I am sure both police, first responders and fire crews from Kingussie and Aviemore will never forget it either.

After a call from the local paper in Inverness, I made my way down South to what was described as an accident involving a car and motorbike. I will leave some details out, however what I saw on over two lanes was destroying. Boots, helmets, personal items such as toothbrushes, a hair brush, some crisps, a smashed up motorbike and car wrecked at the front. What I was seeing was the physical aftermath of what happens when things go seriously wrong on the A9 road, when a driver makes an error of judgement that kills a loving husband and wife.

2010, and Peter and Jacqueline Corris, from Lancashire were making their back from Thunder In The Glens on their beloved Harley Davidson. French road safety expert Roland Bayon thought he was still on dual carriageway (Court hearing information) and careered into the path of the couple. The car ploughed into Peter and Jacqueline, wiping them out. I must add that the other passengers travelling in the vehicle with Mr Bayon witnessed the horrific scene.

It was a dark year for Thunder in the Glen.



This was not simply a case of overtaking, Roland bayon thought he was still able to overtake, because he thought he was still on a dual carriageway.

About 8 years ago I had an early flight at Edinburgh. It was about 3am and I came off the dual carriageway, I did a similar thing. After the dual carriageway I was going round a lorry. Continuing the overtaking manoeuvre I saw another truck coming straight toward me, it took a few moments to sink in that A) The lorry was coming toward me and B) I was no longer on the dual carriageway. South of Dalwhinnie at Drummochter there is a section of dual carriageway where the Northbound and Southbound roads actually split apart, the Northbound is much further down the hill for most of the road, only at the ends to they come together to join up into single carriageway again.

I imagine that whilst the Corris accident could have NOT happened, the possibility of this sort of thing is there, there must be other people who have done this by mistake, but unfortunately two loving people died in 2010.

Nobody would have imagined that two years later, on a spectacular bridge crossing over the river Findgorn on the A9, yet another tragedy was to unfold, so awful was it that again another loving couple died on their Harley Davidson, this time no other vehicles were involved.

I have witnessed the aftermath of head on collisions, with one car there was little damage yet one person died. Another where two people died near Kingussie after a head on collision, these accidents happen too often and speeding up the duelling of the A9 road can only be put at the highest priority.

Above: 2013 and a motorcycle driver had to undergo an amputation after a multiple vehicle accident on the A9 road.

About Aaron Sneddon

Photographer from the ground and air

This website is managed by Aaron Sneddon, Press and Aerial photographer. Aaron is a CAA approved UAV operator, using All Nikon full frame equipment on the ground, and uses both the DJI Inspire X5 and X3 in the air.

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