Alexandria, VA – Several elements of roads impact our safety. From the type of road (highways, freeways, streets, and roadways) to the speed and visibility on the road, road design engineers make our daily travels safer with specific road designs. In fact, you’ve probably unknowingly encountered safety deigns on your commute to work every day.
Here are a few common examples of road designs that make roads safer.
Have you ever noticed that the edges of some roads slope down and outward? This design is called a safety edge. Safety edges have a 35-degree outward slope so that when a driver veers off the roadway they can continue to remain in control of their vehicle and re-enter the roadway safely, as opposed to a dramatic 90-degree drop-off.
Similar to the safety edge, rumble strips are used to keep drivers in their lanes to avoid a crash. These strips are a pattern of raised strips across the road. When driven on, they change the noise the tires make when in contact with the pavement to keep drivers alert.
Rumble strips are most frequently used on the shoulder of the road, but they can also be used in center lanes to alert drivers if they are veering towards oncoming traffic.
Roundabouts are a less common form of an intersection, and while they look daunting, they are actually safer than traditional traffic stops if used the right way. Roundabouts require reduced speeds and one-way traffic which makes intersections drastically safer than a traffic stop, where drivers may feel the need to speed through a changing light.
Center turning lanes are known as road diets. A road diet is a center lane used for two-way left turns. Making left turns can be extremely dangerous as they require you to cross oncoming traffic, and if there’s no turning lane, you’ll end up stopping traffic behind you or risk getting rear-ended by a distracted driver.
By implementing road diets, drivers looking to make a left turn have a designated lane that keeps them safe and out of the flow of traffic while waiting for a safe time to turn.
While we may not take the time to stop and appreciate the safety guards implemented on our roads, we often encounter these road designs that make our roads safer every day.