How can wrong-way driving crashes be prevented?




Signs and markings

In the Netherlands the currently most common measure to prevent wrong-way driving crashes is to place the sign ‘No entry’ with the warning ‘Go back’ below. These signs were introduced in the early 1980s. In the late 1990s, these signs were placed on a fluorescent background (see Figure) and Rijkswaterstaat[i] placed arrows indicating the driving direction on the road surface of accesses and exits. It has not been investigated whether this signs and markings have reduced the number wrong-way driving crashes.

Infrastructural measures

Furthermore, infrastructural measures, especially concerning the layout of the access/exit, have been taken, intended to prevent entering a motorway exit unintentionally [3] [18]. It has not been evaluated to what extent these recommended measures have actually been implemented and whether they have had an effect.

Behavioural advice other traffic

To protect other traffic, all radio broadcasts are interrupted when a wrong-way driver is reported to warn drivers and to advise them ‘to continue driving on the right, not to overtake, and to warn the wrong-way driver with light signals’.

Traffic management

In the late 1990s, there were also concrete proposals to entirely clear the left lane when a wrong‑way driver was reported (a wrong-way driver generally drives in the left lane) or to stop all other road users at bridges or tunnels [19]. The (cost-)effectiveness of these measures has never been investigated and the measures were not introduced.

New techniques

Since the beginning of the present decade the car industry has been working on technological solutions for the wrong‑way driving problem: the Wrong-Way Alert or Wrong-Way Assistant. Such systems are designed to warn drivers with visual and audible alerts when they seem to begin wrong-way driving, for example when they enter an exit. The systems are usually based on GPS data in combination with a navigation system. Built-in cameras that can ‘read’ road signs are also used. In addition, there are developments to warn other drivers of an approaching wrong-way driver via 'vehicle-to-vehicle’ (V2V) communication.

[i] Rijkswaterstaat is responsible for the design, construction, management and maintenance of the main infrastructure facilities in the Netherlands. This includes the main road network, the main waterway network and water systems.

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Wrong-way driving

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