Impact of Safety Edge on Pavement to Prevent Crashes

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Crashes on two-lane rural undivided highways result in nearly sixty percent of the total fatalities on highways of USA. One major reason for these crashes is the interface of the paved roadway surface and the unpaved shoulder. Vertical drop-offs found along the edge of the pavement can guide a driver to overcorrect upon re-entry onto the paved surface. This overcorrection may lead the vehicle to cross into opposing traffic or leave the opposite side of the roadway. A solution to this problem can be to form a thirty-degree tapered transition at the edge of the paved surface called the safety edge. Due to this safety edge a runaway vehicle can smoothly reenter the travel lane from the unpaved shoulder. The safety edge can be constructed with no impact to production and at less than one percent additional material costs. In this study, the number of edge drop-off crashes, edge drop-off fatalities, all rural crashes and fatalities for the State of Alabama has been quantified and analyzed. Fatality due to edge drop-off has been found to be significantly higher than any other crashes. The prevention of edge drop-off to avoid these losses should be considered with extreme importance.
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Pavement Safety Edge; Edge Drop-Off; Rural Crashes; Fatality

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