Saving Lives with the Safety Edge

2012AugustWorking with FHWA, Carlson helps develop Safety Edge to build safer roads and save lives. (From Asphalt Pavement Magazine)

Surprisingly, most fatal crashes in the United States aren’t caused by drunk drivers or “bad” drivers, but are actually caused by simple roadway departures. Roadway departures account for over half of all fatal crashes in the U.S., and roughly 50 people die in roadway departure crashes each day.

When a vehicle leaves the road and tries to re-enter, the car’s tires are unable to get back onto the road as they “scrub” along the road’s exposed vertical pavement edge at high speeds, causing friction between the wheel and the pavement. To get the car over the edge of the shoulder, the driver will overcompensate, turning the steering wheel too hard. When the car jumps back onto the road, the driver is unable to quickly correct the path of the vehicle, causing the car to fishtail, to roll over, enter a head-on collision with on-coming traffic, or get sideswiped.

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