SAFETY: Texas tries to find right answer for wrong-way accidents

Lowered signs, red reflectors are being recommended

August 04, 2015

More wrong-way accidents occur in Texas than any other state in the U.S. So the approach is to take it down a notch, or four.

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is recommending the wrong-way signs be lowered from 7 ft to 3 ft. It’s a move that other states are doing, and recent research supports it because the signs become more visible in a driver’s headlights at night.

TxDOT has issued an internal email suggesting the lowering in areas where wrong-way accidents are high, but the decision will be made by each independent district.

The North Texas Tollway Authority has been experimenting with lower wrong-way signs for the past three years and told TxDOT the change has reduced accidents by up to 56%.

TxDOT has already installed wrong-way red pavement reflectors on several freeway ramps when a study from the Texas Transportation Institute revealed drunken drivers tend to look over the hood of their car and down at the pavement. The lifespan of the reflectors, however, has been relatively short, so TTI is recommending TxDOT narrow the width of the arrows so they will not get run over as often.