Wrong Way Drivers: What Can We Do About It? I Have An Idea

Wrong way willies, what can we do about it? Innocent people are dying: Can we prevent any of these deaths?

I am hoping to do something somehow to help prevent those one-way head-on collisions that seem to be happening more frequently. It seems that Route 8 is one of the worst offenders, followed by I-84.

What I think might help would be to have sensors on the exit ramps of the most common areas for head-on collisions. I am thinking that there must be a way to put a sensor on the exit ramp and have it notify the police when a vehicle is on there. Maybe even a camera. I do not know the cost of this idea. I do think that in our state, since we seem able to pull money out of the air, that this safety issue would be a concern for us all.

I am not sure how far these people go from when they get on, but if we can put some sort of sensor on those areas, and put up more lights on the entrance and exit ramps and the areas leading up to those points, I think that we might be able to prevent any number of accidents.

I haven't pulled any old newspaper articles yet to calculate it, but I am wondering if these accidents really are becoming more and more frequent, and if so, we need to do something about it.

Another recent one was on I-84; I believe it was one nun going home from somewhere and two young people were driving the wrong way on the highway, and hit the nun.

The nun was OK, but the driver of the other car died. It appalls me that in this state, we have the money to throw at a busway that no one wants and even fewer will use, when we could do something about an issue that can affect all of us.

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Connie May 11, 2012 at 02:26 PM
FYI: State DOT out of New York states: "Peter Van Keuren, spokesman for the state DOT, said the idea of putting in tire spikes is commonly mentioned but is problematic for several reasons. “Tire-spike barriers have been tested to determine if they could be used at off-ramps to stop vehicles from entering the wrong way,” he said. “They were, however, found to be unsuitable. The spikes, even when modified in shape, did not cause the tires to deflate quickly enough to prevent a vehicle from entering the freeway.
Connie May 11, 2012 at 02:26 PM
Continued: “Under high-volume traffic, the spikes broke, leaving stubs that damaged the tires of right-way vehicles,” he added. “It was speculated that some right-way drivers, upon seeing the spiked barriers, would hit their brakes and create a hazardous situation. There were additional concerns regarding the use of spikes in northern climates where snow pack and ice formation might prevent the spikes from folding down when driven over in the right direction.” “This suggestion is a common one, but spikes for preventing wrong-way entry onto a freeway via an exit ramp are not a good solution.,” Van Keuren said. “Tire spikes are designed for very low-speed locations, are effective when used at parking lots, parking garages, and toll booths, and are usually used in conjunction with gates. Manufacturers’ literature specify that they are for locations where speeds do not exceed 5 mph; they are not designed to work at potentially high-speed, high-volume traffic locations such as on freeway ramps.”
Connie May 11, 2012 at 02:28 PM
source: Timesunion.com
Rob Whelan May 11, 2012 at 02:40 PM
Points taken. So if spikes are not the answer then what is? Something needs to be done to completely STOP the motor vehicle from entering the wrong way. I'd like to think there are a lot of well-educated, intelligent people in CT. that could figure this out... How often do emergency vehicles have to get on exit ramps, I'm sure there are statistics about that too. And to those that worry about a car getting off crashing into a disable car at the exit, I would think considering physics the impact would be a heck of a lot less since most drivers slow down when getting off an exit, thus limiting damage and injury. Compare that to two cars hitting each other head on bboth traveling at 65 MPH!!!
Bill May 11, 2012 at 08:49 PM
Large painted arrows might help in some instances. They will also hinder. The friction coefficient of the pavement is severely reduced, especially in wet weather, and braking suffers. I still like spikes, multiple rows if necessary, and being an engineer, they just need to be designed better, not more expensively, just better and also incorporate a way for emergency vehicles to pass. The speed bump suggestion could also have some merit. Look at all the money spent on the rumble strips to alert a driver if they are drifting off the road and have the possibility of having a glancing blow with the guiderail. Yes the word is "guiderail" and not "guardrail", because the latter implies it is guarding you against something, and I believe there were suits against the State. Oh, and it was my son killed in the head-on on RT-8.
Kyle May 11, 2012 at 11:59 PM
We don't have tollbooths in CT...
Kyle May 12, 2012 at 12:03 AM
Those statistics are not for deaths, just accidents. I think you're getting too emotional, because you don't seem to be reading the data completely...
Jim May 12, 2012 at 12:13 AM
Bill, I am very sorry for you and your family for the needless loss of your son. Hopefully something will come from this forum to help prevent this type of crash. Can you provide any details as to where the State Police are in their investigation at this point? It must be nearly complete by now and there has been nary a word regarding it.
Kyle May 12, 2012 at 12:50 AM
Your statement about the DOT caring about tollbooths doesn't make sense if there aren't any tollbooths in the state... You cannot say the someone cares about A more than B if A doesn't exist.
Kyle May 12, 2012 at 12:52 AM
"I was referring to the fact the DOT does not think twice about the toll booths gates they have installed, to STOP drivers from not paying a toll, but if we ask for gate at the end of ramps to STOP accidents and possible injury/deaths from people entering wrong-way roads, it is NOT important enough?" Since there aren't any tollbooths in the state, how does this statement mean anything?
Kyle May 12, 2012 at 01:07 AM
The statistics are for accidents not fatalities, so why did you ask me to imagine 3 classrooms full of dead people? That is not what the statistics referred to, so why did you say that?
Kyle May 12, 2012 at 01:09 AM
Also, the tollbooth argument you made to suggest the DOT cares more about money than lives is a false one, in the way I explained, so that's the sort of emotional, nonrational thing I'm referring to.
Kyle May 12, 2012 at 01:28 AM
But that isn't true. We used to have tolls, but then there was a massive accident and it was decided they were unsafe, so the CT state government decided to protect lives instead of money and got rid of them. So, when you say the DOT cares more about money than people, you're just making stuff up to suit your understanding, not looking at facts to shape your understanding. I just finished reading this stay done by the CT DOT in 2008. http://www.cga.ct.gov/2008/rpt/2008-r-0491.htm It contradicts your belief that the state doesn't care about this issue, and also discusses the problem in a national context. Do you understand what I'm trying to say about your argument style, and why it's not a good one?
SILENT WOLF May 12, 2012 at 01:30 AM
I know your intentions are good ,but That all sounds like too much , and it will never happen..too costly and too many obstacles --- don't make it safer.
Kyle May 12, 2012 at 01:58 AM
I think this is a good exercise in patience... I keep writing things, and you don't seem to be reading them at all. "But why not us the time to research ramp accidents solutions instead, it is much more productive" In the last thing I posted, I linked you to a study I'd just finished reading that addresses some of these issues. That is why I get the feeling you're not really reading things completely... I know you aren't purposefully twisting facts, and I know your intentions are good, but my concern is that you're not really putting enough time into examining facts and reading articles—which is why you're misunderstanding the statistics you're quoting. I agree with you that people dying due to other drivers is terrible. Death is pretty terrible in general. You don't have to appeal to people's emotions to get them on the same page with you. So, instead of making those emotional statements, just concentrate on the facts, and the context you're working in, and then you'll be able to argue these things better...
Kyle May 12, 2012 at 02:01 AM
You bring up a really good point! You have to have a convincing argument in order to get things done... That was really what I was trying to convey with my posts above and below...
Kevin O'Connor May 12, 2012 at 02:30 AM
Why don't we just add more signage, and then have mandatory retesting for licenses? If you can't both to read signs saying you're going the wrong way or understand that there are headlights right in front of you, then you probably should not be driving, at all. Now if the driver is impaired, there's not much you can do about it because they're just as much of a threat going the right way, and can easily drift on non-divided road. So my solution is add more signs, light them, paint on the center of the road (as to not reduce the friction of cars), and MAYBE, add a row of amber flashing LEDs angled toward the correct direction (thus only drastically being seen by people going the wrong way). But gates, spikes, and remotely disabling cars (which is impossible I might add) are not the answer. Dumping money into gates or spikes or "remotely" disabling cars is wasteful. Almost all of those would be a huge expense, and then a huge expense to maintain. Even then, after all that money, you're assuming they work perfectly and stop the vehicle in a position that is not a danger, which is highly unlikely. Bad things happen, but we cannot always dump tons of money hoping it will fix the issue (I'm looking at you TSA). Sometimes there's a simpler solution that reduces the chance that something bad won't happen, but without going overboard.
rocketeer928 May 15, 2012 at 12:25 PM
rocketeer928 May 15, 2012 at 12:28 PM
I imagine lights and alarms would cost a boatload of money to install and maintain. I like the tire spiking idea, but the liability issue will prevent this idea from going forward.
Suzanne Spinelli June 17, 2012 at 08:06 PM
I agree with you, Kevin, but in addition to the ideas you have, I still think we need to make it more obvious that the exits are NOT entrances. It isn't foolproof but it would give some people work. If we could kill the boondoggle bus line funds and use it for something like this, or even simple maintenance on the roads we have, it would be a nice thing to do.
Tommy June 18, 2012 at 06:21 AM
Most but not all accidents where someone enters the freeway the wrong way, are drunk or on drugs, So in my oppion lights or alarms will not stop them. I called about a year ago to suggest them putting in spikes and if you exit it goes down as it does when you exit a parking garrage, But if you try to enter the freeway it will slash all your tires. The lady i spoke with said that they wouldnt work because people exit the freeway at to high of speeds and would over time break down. I believe there is a way it can be done that will work. There was just an accident last night where a drunk entered the wrong way, and killed a young mother who had just dropped her kids off at her parents house and was going to work. She died and the drunk man as it almost allways seems to be lived through it, He will spend the rest of his life behind bars, Mother is dead, and poor child is without her mother. We spend so much money on crap, Is this not a worthy cause?
Pragmatist August 16, 2012 at 02:29 AM
Spikes can be made to work and it is a shame that engineers at state DOTs all over the country are either not interested OR are not smart enough to develop a solution to save lives.
SILENT WOLF August 16, 2012 at 02:52 AM
Actually , spikes won't do much to help stop a accident from happening.My suggestion I think is a better solution for now, until we come up with something better...
Jerry Lewis August 16, 2012 at 04:31 AM
People please. As soon as you leave your drive way, you are surrounded by idiots. You can use all the devices described above and guess what, an idiot will disregard them. You have to drive offensively and understand the limitations of your vehicle in panic situations. I look at it like chess. Plot your course four or more steps ahead. I've found you can dodge incompetent drivers, stay within the speed limit and never touch your brakes while having a good time doing it. Happy trails!
Bill Hillman August 16, 2012 at 05:13 AM
Spikes? Good lord, that has to be the most idiotic idea I've ever heard of for several reasons which include 1) Police and Fire needing to access a highway in an emergency situation 2) cost 3) maintenance 4) winter snow and ice and salt 5) creating a potential liability to the state should one fail to work... becomes the states fault, not the drivers! 6) you can't legislate around stupidity! And the sponsor is a Republican? Embarrassing... Sorry, but a truly bad idea
Michael Dwyer August 22, 2012 at 03:01 AM
Yes! Wrongway spikes is the best idea and low cost! The driver will have to buy new tires but this will save lives no doubt.
SILENT WOLF August 22, 2012 at 04:10 AM
All you people out there with those spike Idea , forget about it . that thought is never going to be inacted here in Ct. or anywhere else inthe USA. It doesn't make any sense .My solution is much more practical and less costly .
Willow Reed April 30, 2013 at 11:57 AM
It has been nearly a year since this thread opened. It is hard to get anyone in the legislature to listen, but I found this in the Waterbury Republican news this morning: http://www.rep-am.com/news/local/720978.txt Maybe this will show the problem to be a REAL problem on our roads. I still think that painting large arrows (not those ones that look kinda like lines with triangles in the middle) showing the proper traffic direction would be cost-effective and would also hopefully minimize the amount of these accidents.
Gary April 30, 2013 at 11:18 PM
As I suggested.. painting large arrows on the asphalt to show the proper direction will be the most low cost solution.
justThinkAboutIt June 28, 2013 at 05:54 PM
I stumbled upon this website and thought you might like to know about another option to consider. There is a new system out there that uses LED enhanced wrong way signs that flash when a wrong way driver is detected on an off ramp and it can give real time notifications to the proper authorities. I will give the disclaimer that I work for the company that makes the system. As many have said, there isn't a perfect solution to completely eliminate stupidity, but researching and trying options to save lives is worth the effort. here are a couple links for you to decide for yourselves: System details http://www.tapconet.com/solar-led-division/wrong-way-warning-system-blinkersign San Antonio Texas has done a large project with them http://www.mysanantonio.com/default/article/Warning-signs-on-U-S-281-pay-off-4337866.php Video describing many of the core features this system use to help saves lives http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlO9sJiK2Fc


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