Wrong-Way Driving is About to Get Right
Wrong-way driving accidents are almost always catastrophic. Although they only make up 1 percent of the total number of traffic fatalities in the United States, they result in 300 to 400 deaths a year. California has made attempts to decrease wrong-way driving collisions by installing over 7,000 signs1 on freeway offramps, telling drivers when they’re about to enter a ramp going the wrong way. But wrong-way collisions continue in California. Last week alone, Sacramento had six fatalities, five of who were in their teens and 20s, from such a collision. This is a startling number considering that we’re only in the third week of 2018. Signs such as “Wrong way” and “Do not enter” are not enough to avoid wrong-way driving; especially, for those who are impaired. Caltrans (California Department of Transportation) may have a solution. The Sacramento Bee reports that Caltrans’ officials will combat increasing wrong-way driving collisions by installing red reflectors.
Here’s how it will work: Each lane of a freeway will have reflectors facing the wrong way, every 48 feet. That’s 1,100 red reflectors per mile on 10-lane freeways. The end goal is to install 2.5 million of these red reflectors throughout California. It will take years before this strategy can be fully implemented. In the meantime, officials will aim to install a single row of red reflectors every half mile on our freeways. These red reflectors, in conjunction with California’s 7,000 signs should decrease wrong-way driving collisions, one can only hope.
With any luck, you’ll never be seeing red.
- Sacramento Bee, “How do you stop wrong-way drivers on freeways?” https://www.sacbee.com/news/local/transportation/back-seat-driver/article21038076.html
- Caltrans, “Wrong Way Pilot Project” http://www.dot.ca.gov/trafficops/ctcdc/docs/Final-Report-Wrong-Way-Pilot-Project.pdf