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Safety countermeasures that decrease car accidents

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) have a clear but difficult mission. The purpose of these departments is to reduce the number of crashes on highways and roadways throughout America. When accidents do occur, the goal is to decrease the severity of the crash impacts.

There are several safety countermeasures that have been proven to improve highway safety. A few of these safety measures are highlighted in this article. Roundabouts are circular intersections that are a good alternative to intersections. They manage speed by creating a transition that moves traffic from high to low speed environments. Another measure is corridor access management. This improves traffic movement, reduces crashes and creates fewer car accidents.

There are two types of traffic light modifications that have proved to be good safety countermeasures. The first is to place back-plates with retroreflective borders on existing traffic lights. The back-plates make the traffic signal more visible, which reduces unintentional red-light car accidents. Another special traffic signal is a pedestrian hybrid beacon. This is warning device situated at or over crosswalks that contains two red and one yellow lens. It is activated by a pedestrian who pushes a button on the device. The pedestrian beacon has reduced pedestrian crashes by almost 70 percent and reduces overall roadway crashes by 29 percent.

On the actual roads, there are a few safety tools that can make everyone safer. Longitudinal Rumble Strips alert inattentive drivers that they have veered off of the road. Each state should also practice enhanced delineation and friction for horizontal curves. Stated simply, it is the act of warning drivers about upcoming curves in the road. The earlier these signs are placed in advance of the curve, the safer it is for drivers.

Source: US Department of Transportation, "Proven Safety Countermeasures," last visited December 29, 2014

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