Prevent 'Wrong-Way Driving' accidents with positive reinforcement of 'Right-Way Driving'

Prevent 'Wrong-Way Driving' accidents with positive reinforcement of 'Right-Way Driving'

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Priya S. started this petition to Governor Ron DeSantis and

Each year, a fresh batch of high-school students get behind the wheel and learn how to drive. Among the many risks of driving on the road, the silliest and yet the most dangerous one seems to be that of Wrong-Way Driving. That just seems like the result of an incomplete design.

According to a research report from Texas A&M University, “Wrong-way crashes are relatively infrequent but are more likely to produce serious injuries and fatalities compared to other types of crashes.”

Current solutions alert drivers about wrong-way driving when it may be too late for the drivers to react and correct their mistake.

Along with trying to prevent wrong-way driving, I think we will have more success if we reinforce right-way driving, whenever and wherever a driver is on the road.

Think about it this way: visually, when one stands at the bottom of a staircase looking up, there is no confusion which way it will lead us. The same should be the case for street signs that show us the direction in which we are supposed to be going – visually, it should never confuse us or cause drivers to choose the opposite path and drive directly into oncoming traffic.

From what I read, this problem of Wrong-Way Driving has been around since the 1950’s when the highway system was first constructed.  I am also told that the alerts on wrong way driving appear at the very last moment before a driver is about to make the mistake, and that even for normal drivers, those ‘Wrong Way’ signs cause a fleeting sense of panic when going on a ramp to a highway.

The dashed lines on roads seem like they could be improved to serve an additional purpose besides separating the lanes. A simple finishing touch to the existing pavement markings might be worth a try to see if it reduces or eliminates confusion and prevents incidents of drivers inadvertently going the wrong way, thus sparing the approximately 350 lives that the U.S. loses to Wrong-Way Driving crashes annually.

I propose that we add safety arrowheads to pavement markings to continuously indicate to (and reassure) drivers that they are indeed going in the right direction.

To test this concept, we could start with a prototype. We could form a volunteer team of high-school students, and work in collaboration with the City of Tampa, to design and paint the markings as a prototype starting at high-risk streets where Wrong-Way Driving accidents have previously occurred.

Of course, a lot more thought needs to be given to different kinds of roads, existing pavement markings and driving patterns if we were to make this a universal sign, but we can certainly start small, and then see how it goes.

There are countless teenagers out there getting ready to obtain their driver’s license, who want to help keep roads safer and make a difference in the community. If we harness the energy of today’s youth, we can easily implement this solution.

Beginning with a test group in Tampa, FL, high school students can start a club in their schools for safe driving. Through the club they can ask local paint companies to sponsor them and donate the paint used to paint the arrowheads. Perhaps they can be allowed to display a sign showing, “Safety arrowhead markings on this street are brought to you by [Name of Local Sponsor].

Then we can obtain feedback from drivers to see if it is helpful and whether the pavement markings provide them with greater peace of mind while driving. If the feedback is positive, then the City leaders can determine how to implement it city-wide.

The markings can be tested for different road patterns in different towns and cities. All that might be required is to contact schools and show students the process to approach their local city leaders and the traffic authorities to find roads with the most potential for Wrong-Way Driving accidents as a pilot to test the initiative for local conditions. Students would happily set aside a few hours on a weekend to go and paint the extra lines, easily making roads a little safer by preventing future Wrong-Way Driving accidents.

Attached are mock-ups of current markings taken from Pavement Markings diagram in Chapter 3 of dor.mo.gov manual, and of the proposed markings with simple arrowheads added.

Please vote this proposal up to make roads a little safer for all automobile drivers.

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