Last week, we discussed the pillar of the Focus on Reducing Rural Roadway Departures (FoRRRwD) initiative which looks beyond the State highway system to focus on all public roads. The next pillar we will discuss is countermeasures—the cost-effective treatments proven to reduce rural roadway departure crashes.
The benefits for installing these countermeasures outweigh the costs for installation and maintenance, and can be maximized with a systemic approach to deployment. The countermeasures you select can either help keep vehicles in their lanes, or reduce the potential for crashes, or minimize crash severity when crashes do occur.
Signs and markings are often the first countermeasures considered because they are also very adaptable and easy to implement. For example, you can widen edge lines or use delineators on gravel roads, or select a variety of options to emphasize sharp curves. Implementing these countermeasures assists drivers to navigate both day and night.
Other proven countermeasures are applied to paved surfaces – SafetyEdge℠, rumble strips, and friction improvement treatments. Pavement friction is critical at curves, where friction is most needed and where it tends to be least available, because it wears quickly due to turning maneuvers. High friction surface treatment (HFST) can provide a long lasting solution if placed on pavement in good condition. With a benefit cost ratio of 6:1, HFST is proven to be very effective at curves: 57 percent overall crash reduction and 83 percent reduction in wet weather crashes.
Why Focus on Reducing Rural Roadway Departures (FoRRRwD)?
Roadway departures (aka lane departures) on the rural road network account for one-third of traffic fatalities. Systemic application of proven roadway departure countermeasures, such as rumble strips, friction treatments, and clear zones, helps keep vehicles in their travel lanes, reduce the potential for crashes, and reduce the severity of those crashes that do occur.
This initiative encourages agencies to address lane departures on all public roads.