March 06, 2007
Wrong way driving

I don't know that I have enough information after reading this article about wrong way drivers on freeways to know if the proposed solution of "wrong way driving detectors" on exit ramps will make a difference or not. It's an infrequent problem and the technology involved is expensive, but the result of such a collision is so often deadly that almost any positive effect will be worthwhile. But it'll only be rolled out on about half the exit ramps of the Westpark Tollway, so who knows if there'll even be a chance for them to come into play. And on and on. So who knows?

I did, however, get one really useful piece of information out of this article:

"The frustrating thing, from a safety engineering standpoint, is that so many impaired drivers have been going the wrong way for a long distance and have passed all sorts of things that would tell them they are going in the wrong direction," [Scott Cooner, who has researched wrong-way crashes for the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University,] said.

Many, he said, will move over to what is -- to them -- the right-hand lane in an attempt to drive safely. This puts them in position to collide with fast-lane traffic.

"Late at night, I don't drive in the left lane of the freeway for that reason, and a lot of police departments have that as standard operating procedure," he said.

I generally hug the right lane when I'm driving late at night, because it's the only way to avoid the really scary speed demons that haunt the roads then. I'm nobody's idea of a slowpoke, but if you've ever driven I-10 after midnight around here, you know what I'm talking about. Good to know that my instincts are sound.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on March 06, 2007 to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

I think the most effective solution for this is the ubiquitous cell phone.

Posted by: Bill Shirley on March 6, 2007 8:08 AM