How Does Traffic Management Equipment Help with Road Safety?Ashley Woodcock
When road works are being conducted throughout Australia, it is important to have the correct traffic management equipment installed. This ensures roads remain safe for both motorists who are travelling, as well as road workers maintaining the infrastructure.
The traffic management road safety equipment requirements will be different for each project. What is needed will depend on the project length, operation hours and location.
Throughout this blog, we discuss the different road transport safety and traffic management equipment that is available to hire. In addition to this, we will outline where and when the road safety equipment is used to prevent accidents and increase overall road safety.
But first, here’s a little more information to help you discover and understand more about road safety rules and the importance of them in Australia.
Road Safety Rules in Australia
Road safety is taken very seriously in Australia. The Federal, State and Territory governments work together with local governments to regulate road safety rules.
The aim of these departments is to create safer roads Australia wide, with the ultimate result being to eliminate road trauma and deaths. All Australians travelling on our roads should return safely home to family and friends at the end of a trip.
Road Safety Awareness
There are many strategies and campaigns that have been implemented to increase road safety awareness amongst Australians.
A recent strategy that has been implemented in Victoria is the “Towards Zero Road Safety Strategy”.
Targeted directly at the Victorian community, this strategy involves addressing road safety awareness topics. The action plan put in place between 2016-2020 aims to save lives and
reduce serious injuries on roads. It includes measures such as providing safe roads, implementing safer road speeds and ensuring safer vehicles.
A large focus of the campaign investment was aimed at introducing additional road safety barriers. According to Toward Zero Road Safety Strategy, road safety barriers were hit more than 3,200 times in 2018 in Victoria alone. This statistic stands to show the importance of road safety barriers and the positive impact they can have. Each time a road safety barrier is hit by a motorist, people are saved from potentially life-threatening injuries – or even worse, death.
Road Safety Barriers During Roadworks
When roadworks are conducted, safety road barriers are used to protect not only the workers onsite but also motorists travelling on the road. Often sites where works are being undertaken have uneven surfaces and in-progress works, which could create a hazard if a motorist was to enter the site unexpectedly.
In cases where major roadworks are conducted, temporary road barriers can be installed for a short or long period of time, depending on how long the works will take.
How do Barriers make Roads Safer?
Temporary barriers act as a barricade between the motorist and the potentially hazardous work site. The barricade is also used to protect workers that are conducting work or operating machinery on the side of the road. The barriers help to protect the workers from being hit by a motor vehicle.
In the case of a collision, the impacted barrier can deflect the motor vehicle away from the worksite, preventing the risks of serious injury and death to the driver and workers onsite.
Without road safety barriers, both motorists and site workers would be exposed to unsafe road conditions, making conditions extremely hazardous if the motorist was to collide into a worksite.
Choosing the right Safety Barrier – Factors to Consider
There are several different road safety barriers that are used in Australia. The type of barrier installed depends on the requirements of the project. Listed below are 5 key factors that should be considered when choosing a road safety barrier.
5 Factors to consider when choosing a Temporary Road Safety Barrier
- The speed limit required on the road
- The minimum distance needed between the work zone and traffic
- The length of barriers required to adequately protect the work site
- Which end treatments are appropriate to be added to each barrier
- The duration of the project
Throughout Australia, there are strict safety guidelines that need to be adhered to in relation to the type of traffic management equipment that can be used on roads. The reason for this is to ensure that only high quality, safe and compliant equipment is used.
Each State road authority has different guidelines highlighting the approved road safety equipment for their State. It is considered best practice to check with your Local State Authorities for a detailed list of approved road barriers and other equipment.
Electronic Traffic Management Equipment During Roadworks
Traditionally when roadworks are completed, the primary piece of equipment used is road barriers, as we have outlined above. However there is also a range of other traffic management equipment available that can contribute to enhancing road safety. These include multiple forms of electronic equipment such as electronic message boards, directional arrow boards, portable road safety traffic lights and variable speed limit signs.
Electronic equipment plays an important role in creating safer roads when normal road conditions have changed, such as when roads are closed for maintenance or roadworks.
One of the most common forms of electronic traffic management equipment is an electronic message board. This is also known in the traffic management industry as a Variable Message Sign (VMS). VMS are used to display important information to the motorist ahead of time. This information could be advising an alternative route or providing warnings of changing road conditions.
Similar to Variable Message Signs, directional arrow board signs have the ability to create a safer journey on the road. Directional arrow signs provide advanced warning to the motorist by directing the driver into the desired road path and away from potential work site danger. Take the example of a lane closure, the use of a directional arrow sign provides the motorist with early notice of the lane closure helping to prevent confusion and potential incidents. This reduces traffic congestion by notifying the motorist and providing an early opportunity for the motorist to act and merge into the desired lane.
For more information about hiring arrow boards for traffic control check out our post.
Portable road safety traffic lights and Variable Speed Limit Signs (VSLS) are also an important mechanism used to increase safety on roads. Portable road safety traffic lights can be used to prevent accidents and create a smoother traffic flow. They are often used during power outages, utility work, roadworks and emergency response situations. When operating correctly, Variable Speed Limit Signs can greatly improve the safety of both the motorist and road worker onsite. They assist in providing effective speed reduction, which can lead to fewer road accidents and increased levels of safety.
Everyone deserves a safe journey on the road
All those who travel and work on Australian roads deserve to return home safely. It is important for all those who travel and are involved with road projects to follow the road safety rules.
If you have any questions regarding road safety barriers or any traffic management equipment enquiries, please contact RPM Hire.
Call today on 1300 479 570 or send an enquiry via our contact form.