The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has announced this month (October 2018) that it is pursuing an update to the “Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways” — the MUTCD — in preparation for the future of automated vehicles and to afford states and local communities with more opportunities to utilize innovation.
While instructing on an advanced driving course recently in the Pacific Northwest of the USA, I was briefly found it funny when I saw this sign but after a few moments of humor I was more dismayed than amused. Read on and you’ll find out why.
In an article published in January 2018, Business Insider listed the most dangerous intersection in every state in the USA, and in each case there was an accompanying photograph, although not always from a suitable angle or elevation.
From what can be seen in the photographs, many of the intersections would benefit tremendously from the installation of a roundabout. Roundabouts don’t necessarily reduce the overall number of collisions — indeed when first installed a roundabout may see an increase in the number of minor collisions while people get used to the new type of intersection — but the number of serious collisions, involving injuries and deaths, will drop dramatically as long as the roundabout is well-designed, and just as importantly, as long as the drivers in that state are being taught the best way to drive into, around and out of roundabouts. However, while the first of these points is increasingly being met (although not so in the first photograph shown below), the second — the education aspect — is deliberately and unforgivably being rejected by the FHWA, and as a result, all state-level DOTs that we know of.
Back in 2010, at a conference in Washington, DC, about the then-imminent commencement of the international ‘Decade of Action for Road Safety, 2011-2020’, I had the good fortune to meet the very likable Joe Toole, who was then the head of the Federal Highway Administration [FHWA], one of the two executive divisions of the USDOT. Continue reading “America’s Most Dangerous Intersections — the Need for More, Better-Designed Roundabouts, plus Accurate Info for Drivers!”
Poor quality paint is dangerously and very frequently used for pavement markings and crosswalks in the USA, in place of more-expensive but vastly-safer thermoplastic materials which have a high-glass-bead content for excellent reflectivity at night and in bad weather.
Compare the photo above with the one below. They are at the same location and were taken less than 12 hours apart.
Continue reading “USA: Crosswalks made with Low Quality Paint or in Pretty Colors are Potentially Deadly”
Removing or alternating passing/overtaking possibilities on undivided rural highways, together with the introduction of narrow-profile guard rails between the center lines is a technique that was pioneered very successfully by Sweden and has now been used with similar success in New Zealand. And there’s definitely both the scope and the need to use it in the USA, too.
In surprise and great dismay, I nearly spat my mouthful of coffee all over my keyboard when I read the article More traffic experiments planned in Fayetteville a few minutes ago, from the Fayetteville Flyer.
Traffic circles, of a sort, were allegedly first built by the Romans in order to expedite chariot movements at busy intersections 2,000 years ago. Some countries still use basic traffic circles and if you are an adrenalin junky, go to Paris and try driving on the one around the Arc de Triomphe when vehicles are flowing thick and fast! However, what today are properly called “modern roundabouts” were invented half-a-century ago in 1960s Britain.
Continue reading “What is it with the USA and Roundabouts? Wasting Time & Money, Reinventing a Wheel!”
Important safety advice from the FHWA. The solar eclipse is onhttps://lnkd.in/dv36xic
If you are driving at the time of the eclipse, then apart from not parking at an unwise location to watch the event yourself, please do be careful not to hit anyone that does stop at a bad place. Naturally, headlights — not just Daytime Running Lights, because typically they don’t activate your rear lights — should be used throughout the periods of half-light as well as the true darkness.