Reducing Crashes at Controlled Rural Intersections

Status:  Complete
Report Date:  09/21/2003


Right-angle crashes are a problem at rural Thru-STOP intersections-accounting for 71% of the fatal crashes in Minnesota in 1998, 1999, and the first half of 2000. Using a driving simulator, we investigated the effect of several interventions intended to increase the saliency of a problem intersection in Goodhue, Minnesota. One group of 24 participants drove with the intersection modeled as it is now, while a second group of 25 drove with the interventions implemented at the intersection. On the minor road, the effect of the interventions was to make the participants to begin to reduce speed further from the intersection. On the major road, their effect was to make participants reduce speed substantially on approaching the intersection. The implications of these findings are: (i) by beginning to slow down further from the intersection, drivers will stop in a more controlled fashion and be less likely to inadvertently run the stop sign, (ii) by making the intersection more noticeable drivers should have a better view of the major road and be better able to judge whether or not it is safe to turn into the space in front of an approaching vehicle on the cross road, and (iii) if a vehicle pulled into the intersection from the minor road, necessitating an emergency braking maneuver by the vehicle on the major road, the speed reductions would produce even greater reductions in the stopping distances. Right-angle crashes would be less likely to occur, and if they could not be avoided, their severity would be reduced.

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