Ever wonder what a criminal feels like when he is caught in the act? Digital radar speed signs give drivers that same feeling. It is almost as if the local traffic enforcement has singled you out for special attention.
That is the exact impression digital radar speed signs mean to create. They draw your attention to how you are driving. For the law abiding driver, that is enough of a corrective measure.
Encouraging safe speeds is one benefit of this kind of traffic enforcement. Listed below are 9 ways digital radar signs improve driver safety.
Mobility and Instant Use
This technology is mobile. They ingenuously mount it on trailers so it can be towed to a location and set up quickly. There are no structures to erect or construction sites to consume travel lanes. Traffic flow is not impeded.
No planning or new lanes are required either. This means the device is available pretty much instantly. It is simply towed to the target location, set up and powered on. The trailer houses its own power source, so it is a self-contained unit.
Does Not Affect Emergency Vehicles
These self-contained speed warnings get set up outside travel lanes. They are close enough to monitor vehicle speeds, but they are also located so as to allow even big trucks to pass. This placement also provides clear, safe passage of all emergency vehicles.
Targets Individual Drivers
Traditional, static speed limit warnings aim to inform the general driving public. They are blanket admonishments to every passing driver. They are common roadside signage, and as such, they are more often unnoticed.
The flashing operation of digital signs is not as easily overlooked or ignored. When that flashing ‘current speed’ sign matches your speedometer, you know it is referring to you specifically. You instinctively know you are personally being warned.
Interacts With Drivers
Have you watched drivers ahead of you approach these signs? They invariably apply their brakes, and the sign adjusts to their new, lower speed. The sign has just done its job.
This interaction confirms to the driver that it does record their vehicle speed. It is not just flashing random numbers to get their attention. This sign and driver exchange is far more dynamic and effective than the usually ignored, posted sign.
Warns of Potential Danger
These digital signs are not only speed warning signs. They also aid drivers. They increase awareness of pedestrian crossings, slowed and stalled traffic and even road conditions.
Distracted drivers cause substantial traffic deaths and injuries. Flashing signs quickly draw our attention back to driving and give us enough time to adjust our driving to changing situations.
Driving Too Fast Alerts
Speeding is a major cause for many highway fatalities. According to NHTSA, speeding costs the public over 40 billion dollars annually, and it accounts for roughly 1/3rd of all highway fatalities.
These flashing speed signs directly warn specific drivers they are driving too fast. Raising individual awareness is a constructive way to reduce fatalities and costs of speeding.
Helps Drivers Navigate Curves
Unlit streets and roads are dangerous at night. Add in stormy weather and the danger is doubled. Digital signs have their uses here as well.
Strategically placed signs at the beginning, middle and end of difficult curves can usher drivers through to safety and reduce loss of control accidents. Iowa State did a study in 2014 which demonstrated their effectiveness.
Can Target Specific Areas Where High Speed Is a Problem
Accident reports create a log of accident locations. If traffic control continues to see the same location appear, with speed as the commonality, they target that area.
They deploy these digital speed warning signs as a first step toward curtailing accidents there. You may even see messages stating the number of deaths having occurred at the location.
They Actually Reduce Driver Speed More Than Standard Posted Signs
This same Iowa State study showed just how much more effective these flashing signs are at reducing wrecks and fatalities.
Their numbers were not dramatic, but they were significant. This study quoted a roughly 2% speed decrease with the signage difference.
Traffic Enforcement Presence without Using Actual Manpower
Perhaps the biggest help to local enforcement staffs is the multiplied coverage effect the signs imply. They give the impression that the location is manned when it is not actually watched continuously by enforcement.
The psychological trick is that the driver does not know whether it is actually manned or not. The safe presumption is to think it is when it flashes at you. This has the effect of a manned patrol.
The next time you see one of these flashing signs, be thankful for it. This is a courtesy warning and a driving aid to the public. You have been warned.