In a typical day, one of the most potentially dangerous routines that people must engage in is driving. Despite people’s experience behind the wheel and the regulatory laws placed on drivers, accidents still can—and do—occur. A moment of inattentiveness or the erratic behavior of one person on the road can lead to serious injuries for multiple people. This may also include those who are walking or cycling nearby as well. While it is impossible to completely control every driver’s actions to achieve perfect safety on streets and highways, local governments working in tandem with civil engineers can take steps to diminish the frequency of accidents that do happen. Enact these engineering design strategies to make roads safer for all the citizens who use them.
Using Retroreflective Signage, Markings, and Backplates
Visibility is essential for driving but, unfortunately, it is sometimes difficult to extend adequate street lighting to every area within a municipality. Because of the pervading darkness, people who are on these dim roads at night may be at a greater risk of collision. This is often an issue in suburban or rural settings where buildings are more scattered. An effective solution you can carry out to make the road clearer after the sun sets is to utilize retroreflective signage, marking, and backplates on traffic lights. Retroreflective materials send light that they receive directly back to the source. As automobiles pass by, the vehicle’s headlights will hit these signs, lane markings, and traffic light backings and cause them to become bright. Drivers will be able to see them and become even more aware of their surroundings.
Setting Apart Walkways for Pedestrians
Pedestrians and cyclists will sustain the most serious injuries and may even die if a vehicle crashes into them since they do not have the protection of a large metal frame like drivers do. Yet, countless roads lack designated walkways for pedestrians to travel on. You should make efforts to provide sidewalks that are clearly separate from the primary streets that vehicles use to reduce the likelihood of accidents. The same can be said for unambiguous bicycle lanes. You may also consider special accommodations in areas where you know that a large number of people walk. An example could be dedicating certain streets in an urban environment as pedestrian-only, thereby completely taking away the risk factor of cars.
Improving Crosswalks With Pedestrian Refuge Spaces
To go along with the previous point, you might construct pedestrian refuge spaces for crosswalks that extend over wide and busy intersections. On those kinds of streets, people may have more trouble getting from one side to the other because of the distance that separates the opposite sides of the road. With raised medians and islands that break up that distance, pedestrians can wait in the middle of the street without fear of cars heading straight for them, since the refuge space is clearly marked and built higher than the road. The pedestrian refuge spaces will work with bright signs that you place on them to direct the flow of traffic around pedestrians who are standing there.
Implementing Road Diets to Separate Traffic
On a traditional road, there is nothing separating opposing lanes of traffic, so cars that veer slightly to the left can collide with one another. Furthermore, multiple lanes or extra space on each side can make vehicles more prone to crashes as people drive with less regulation from the road. The method of implementing road diets involves reducing the number of lanes so that you can more strictly organize streets and make them safer.
A major change that designers include in road diet plans is the addition of a two-way center lane. This lane allows cars to stop and wait until it is safe to make a left turn without obstructing the flow of traffic. Additionally, it brings a greater degree of division between traffic moving in opposite directions so that collisions are less frequent. Other road diet measures that you may use are creating bicycle lanes and broadening sidewalks. Both of these redistribute the road, so vehicles move more uniformly and at slower speeds while cyclists and pedestrians have more space to move without fear of being hit.
Building Rumble Strips onto Road Edges
Rumble strips are lines of bumpy surfacing that run along the sides of roads and are particularly common on highways. Should a vehicle start to move off of the highway to the right unintentionally, the rumble strips will cause its tires to make a distinct sound while the seats vibrate. The rumble strips will, thus, alert a driver who is falling asleep or not paying attention that they are about to go off of the highway and prevent a high-speed accident. Rumble strips can also prove useful in the middle of roads as separators between lanes of traffic running in the same or different directions. In either case, drivers will know when they have swerved too far outside their own lane.
Adding in Roadside Guardrails
Roads and highways may have substantial drops past their shoulders or there may be buildings, property, and other areas where the sudden entry of cars would result in substantial damages and injuries. Therefore, it follows that an engineering design strategy to make roads safer is adding in roadside guardrails where they are needed. In places where there is enough open and relatively flat lateral ground for cars to move back onto the road if they somehow turn off of it, guardrails are not needed. If vehicles are in danger of falling down sheer slopes, damaging important roadside structures, and gravely destroying themselves, guardrails are irreplaceable. They work to slow down vehicles’ speeds, redirect them back onto the road, and stop them from flipping over in the process.
If you decide to have guardrails installed to act as traffic barriers in possibly dangerous locations along major roads, get in touch with Durham Fence & Guardrail. Whether you are in Connecticut and are searching online for “guardrail installation companies near me” or need our services in another part of the country, we’ll provide you with the professionalism and quality work you expect for safety structures.