Cost Effective Safety Engineering Countermeasures Help Reduce Intersection Crashes
FDOT District Two Community Traffic Safety Program in Northeast Florida continues the educational series of proven safety countermeasures. These five informational pieces help explain intersection countermeasures. The traffic safety strategies and treatments of roadway markings and traffic lights at intersections reduce serious injury and fatal crashes. They are based on proven measures of effectiveness by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
Click on the five educational Intersection Countermeasure cards below to download a copy. They may be printed or shared digitally through email or social media with our Northeast Florida Traffic Safety Teams, communities and agencies.
Motorists and other road users, including pedestrians and cyclists, cross paths at intersections. This is where the greatest potential for roadway conflicts exist. Turning, changing lanes and traveling through intersections are among the most complex in the transportation system. They require appropriate roadway design, signage, traffic control devices, lighting, and other safety measures. Innovative safety improvements and operations at signalized and unsignalized intersections can help enhance everyone’s safety.
Click here for a PDF document of these intersection countermeasures used in Northeast Florida, provided by the FDOT District Two Community Traffic Safety Program.
Traffic Safety Countermeasures that Work in Reducing Intersection Crashes:
1. Roundabouts Reduce Severe Crashes
Roundabouts are a circular intersection that feature channelized approaches and a center island that safely and efficiently moves traffic. Motorists entering the roundabout yield to vehicles already circulating which leads to improved operational performance. Roundabouts are an effective countermeasure resulting in lower speeds and fewer conflict points.
2. Backplates with Retroreflective Borders
Backplates are a low cost countermeasure being introduced in Northeast Florida on traffic signal heads to improve visibility of the illuminated face. The dark backplate provides a controlled-contrast background. The framing with a retroreflective border makes the signal easily seen in both daytime and nighttime conditions. This treatment enhances visibility for aging motorists and color vision deficient drivers, and is also beneficial during power outages or inclement weather, providing a visible cue for all motorists.
3. Left and Right Turn Lanes at Intersections Reduce Severe Crashes
Left or right auxiliary turn lanes provide measurable safety and operational benefits at intersections, reducing the number of crashes. Turn lanes give a physical separation between slower turning traffic and the free flowing main route of traffic. They provide space for deceleration prior to a turn and storage for vehicles that have stopped and are waiting to complete a turn.
4. Well-Timed Yellow Change Intervals Reduce Red-Light Running
Red-light running is a leading cause of severe crashes at signalized intersections, and it is critical that the length of time a yellow signal is displayed following a green signal is appropriately timed. If the yellow light changes too quickly, motorists may be unable to stop safely and cause unintentional red-light running. If the yellow light changes too slowly, this may result in drivers treating the yellow signal as an extension of the green phase and invite intentional red-light running.
5. Benefits of the Flashing Yellow Arrow Left Turn Signal
Fewer crashes and better traffic flow are benefits of the flashing yellow left turn arrows as an effective engineering countermeasure. The updated design of left turn signals with a flashing yellow arrow creates a safer, more efficient left turn at intersections. When the flashing yellow arrow is illuminated, drivers must first yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians, then they may proceed to turn with caution. This new signal system presents motorists with a more direct message and reduces confusion by replacing the green ball with the yellow and green left turn arrows so the display is not the same as the adjacent thru lane.