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Technology Reduces The Number Of Head-On Crashes

How do authorities figure out that someone is driving the wrong way on the road before a crash? An article from Roads & Bridges talks about some of the technology used in the Dallas/Fort Worth region to do this.

While wrong-way crashes are rare, they are quite dangerous. Most happen head-on and at unsafe speeds. Usually, one driver is intoxicated. That’s why the North Texas Tollway Authority has invested a lot of time studying the problem and adding features to help prevent wrong-way crashes.

Among the changes they’ve made, they’ve added reflective markings on pavement and signs, added better markings on the roads, and added flashing LEDs on some wrong way signs. Another thing they do in some areas is install wrong-way signs at a lower level than standard. Studies showed that intoxicated drivers often stare too much at pavement, so the lower height makes the signs more reflective and easier to notice. This reduced the number of wrong-way drivers by 50%!

Another interesting feature they’ve used is thermal cameras. These cameras are able to detect wrong way drivers automatically without getting false positives from headlight glare. These cameras are combined with a pavement sensor detection system that warns drivers with a flashing sign if they start to drive into oncoming traffic.

The latest project they are working on is a way to let other cars know if a vehicle is driving the wrong way towards them. That will let them get out of the way and avoid a dangerous head-on collision.

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