MnDOT is working on ways to reduce crashes at intersections by making stop signs and stop lights more visible to motorists. The agency will apply reflective red metal strips on nearly 1,000 stop sign posts and fluorescent yellow tape around 100 traffic signal lights across the state this summer.
“We think these two low-cost safety countermeasures will help reduce crashes at these higher risk intersections,” said Derek Leuer, traffic safety engineer.
The stop sign project will be implemented on locally owned roads that intersect with two-lane, two-way state highways. The highways chosen are considered moderate- and high-risk crash corridors.
The reflective red strips will be installed on the stop sign post directly beneath the stop sign.
Rural intersection crashes are a serious issue in Minnesota, according to Leuer. From 2008 to 2012, there were 533 serious and fatal injury crashes at rural state highway intersections.
“This project aims to reduce those fatal and serious injury crashes in the state by making the stop signs easier to see,” he said. “Fatal right-angle crashes often are the result of one or more drivers failing to comply with a stop sign.”
The traffic signal project includes installing fluorescent yellow tape around the rectangular back plate that contains the green, red and yellow traffic signal bulbs. Leuer said this is a proven Federal Highway Administration safety countermeasure already used by other states.
“The reflective tape will make the signals look bigger and help motorists be more aware of them,” Leuer said. “This will be especially helpful at night and in low-visibility conditions.”
The florescent yellow tape will go on signals at intersections that are considered higher risk for crashes and may have a record of past crashes.
Cost of both projects is about $500,000.
MnDOT will evaluate both projects for effectiveness on an ongoing basis over the next three years.
“The installation of red reflective strips to stop sign posts and yellow fluorescent tape around signal lights may become another low-cost tool to help MnDOT improve roadway safety and move Minnesota toward zero deaths,” Leuer said.
This article by Sue Roe originally appeared in the June 13, 2018 MnDOT Newsline.