How Can Roadway Safety Be Improved?

Road traffic crashes are a global public health problem that have become the 12th leading cause of death worldwide. The World Health Organization (WHO) aims to prevent deaths and injuries from road traffic crashes by improving roadway safety, prevention of risky behaviour, and increasing access to emergency care for victims. Governments must also focus on reducing the number of vehicles on the road, educating drivers about safe driving behaviours and ensuring that roads and highways are designed and built to provide a safe environment for all roadway users.

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A perfect road system would have zero accidents among all the different types of roadway users. However, that ideal condition may be impossible to achieve given the complex interaction between roadway design, vehicle technology and user behaviour. Therefore, a common goal of transportation agencies is to improve roadway safety for all types of road users to reduce the risk of injury and death from crashes and to minimise medical costs and productivity losses.

The goal of road safety improvements often competes with other goals such as efficient movement of people and goods, environmental concerns and economic objectives. As a result, engineering solutions often involve trade-offs where one goal must be prioritised over another. For example, improving pedestrian safety at signalised intersections might require adding time to the pedestrian crossing cycle or separating turn movements from through movements to eliminate high risk conflicts.

Many roadway accidents are caused by poor visibility. This is especially true on poorly designed or ill-lit roads and in poor weather conditions such as rain, fog and snow. A simple solution is to increase the brightness of vehicle headlights, and install reflective surfaces on vehicles and roadway signs. In addition, pedestrians and bicyclists should wear bright clothing or use reflectors to enhance their visibility to others on the roadway. Find out about Chevron Kits by visiting

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Distracted driving is another leading cause of car accidents. Drivers who text or talk on the phone, groom themselves while driving, eat food or drink beverages, fiddle with the sound system or engage in other distracting activities are much more likely to be involved in a crash. Providing an uncluttered roadway with wide shoulders, installing rumble strips and keeping roadside vegetation trimmed to limit obstructions are a few simple steps that can be taken to improve roadway safety.

Another way to improve roadway safety is to implement vehicle technology that prevents driver distractions. This technology could include hands-free phone operation and automatic braking systems that are activated when the vehicle swerves into the wrong lane or the driver is not paying attention to the road ahead.