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Dangerous Highways

What New Measures can Increase Highway Safety?

Faced with urban sprawl, long-distance commutes, and more work and family obligations, Americans spend more time on the road than ever. Federal and state governments also face increased pressures to maintain and improve aging infrastructure. Highway safety and efficiency are necessary, but competing, priorities. As studies on highway and street risks are completed, state and federal agencies are rolling out new measures to make our roads safer while still promoting efficient use of the roads.

When you are involved in a highway accident, you need experienced counsel to guide you through. A personal injury attorney can explain your options and the steps necessary to make it through.

Roundabouts — Avoiding Traffic Conflict

Roundabouts are a highly successful method to increase safety at intersections, yet keep traffic moving, at least for motor vehicles. At a typical four-way stop intersection, two or more cars are stopped, while one or two cars cross the intersection. If any vehicle fails to yield, an accident can result. In an intersection with a roundabout, cars enter the one-way path only through right turns, and need only yield to a car that is on-coming in the roundabout. Roundabouts create fewer opportunities for conflicts between cars, and may lower the speed and the severity of collisions because of the angle of most collisions that occur in a roundabout.

Roundabouts do, however, have downsides. They have not been shown to increase safety for cyclists, and may increase the risk for pedestrians with visual impairments because continuous traffic does not allow a person who is blind to hear whether on-coming traffic has yielded. While improvements must be made to increase safety for all traffic users, roundabouts may play a vital role to decreasing motor vehicle collisions in some intersections.

Retroreflectivity — Visible Signage While Driving at Night

Safety on the road requires streets and highways that are easily navigable at night. Signage and pavement markings are important pieces of nighttime navigation. Strides have been made to improve the retroreflectivity of road signs to increase their visibility at night. Retroreflectivity is a technical term that describes the nighttime effect of light from cars reflecting off the markings on a sign to increase the visibility of the sign to the driver. As stated by the Federal Highway Administration, drivers perceive that retroreflective signs appear to "glow in the dark."

Rumble Strips — Decreasing Roadway Departures

Rumble strips are an easy fix to a serious problem: inattentive motorists driving off the road. Rumble strips are common features installed on roadways that create a noise as car wheels pass over them. In many cases, the noise is enough to alert an inattentive or drowsy driver that he or she is perilously close to a shoulder or guardrail. Rumble strips can also be helpful to delineate the roadway in adverse weather conditions.


While the Federal Highway Administration reports that the highway fatality rate has leveled off, it continues to look for new methods to increase highway safety. Drivers must also do their part to increase their own safety and that of motorists around them.

While protective measures save lives, every accident cannot be prevented. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney to learn about your options when you are involved in a serious highway accident.

Copyright © 2012 FindLaw, a Thomson Reuters business

DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

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