How many crashes are due to road users ignoring red crosses?


An overview of registered incidents involving red-cross offences on motorways shows that, in 2020, ignoring a red-cross led to 54 crashes (with service cars, vehicle-mounted arrow boards/crash attenuators or due to other road measures) and 258 near crashes (see Table 2). It is remarkable that the number of near crashes seems to be highest in 2020, whereas at that time COVID-19 travel restrictions led to considerably less traffic. Nothing is known about the causes of this large number, but several disruptive factors may be at play, such as better registration and/or frequency of red crosses (it is highly likely that the reduced traffic demand in this period resulted in more peak-hour lanes being crossed off than would normally be the case)..

A red cross over a motorway lane implies that use of that lane is forbidden, for example due to a vehicle on the emergency lane or roadworks along the motorway. A red cross must not be ignored. In 2020, almost 5000 police reports on red cross negation were drawn up. Red cross negation endangers the lives of road workers, emergency service staff and other road users.

Table 2. Incidents after red cross negation on motorways in the Netherlands (Source [4]).

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Traffic congestion and roadworks

Traffic congestion occurs when traffic demand exceeds road capacity, or when an incident such as a traffic crash, a vehicle breakdown occurs or Meer

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