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How Cities Can Make Their Highways Safer

How Cities Can Make Their Highways Safer

Near the top of every list of the most common fears is a fear of flying. It keeps would-be travelers from making speedy trips or even making trips at all. It’s a common fear, as well as an unfounded one—flying, thanks to strict regulatory oversight, is a very safe way to travel after all. The real hazards lie in driving.

While “fear of being in a car” isn’t a common phrase or the title of a bestselling book, the safety hazards of driving are issues that cities and states should try to address through better roadway design. Here’s how cities can make their highways safer and give motorists a little less to worry about.

Lower Speed Limits

Sometimes the most obvious solutions are right under our noses. Speed limits correlate with car accidents—it’s that simple. By reducing speed limits and enforcing those new limits, drivers will be more careful. What accidents do occur should be less severe, and sometimes, even that’s a victory.

Install Guardrails

Installing guardrails can help drivers stay safe. Appearing to narrow the roadway with rails makes motorists drive more cautiously, and if they get into an accident, well-placed guardrails can absorb the shock and prevent cars from speeding or rolling into trouble. Guardrails are all but a necessity on hilly roads or over water.

Michigan Lefts

Hail to the victors who devised this innovative solution to troublesome left turns. Popular in and around Detroit, where auto safety looms large, this maneuver is an alternative that seems complicated at first but pays dividends. Rather than cut across traffic by turning left, a Michigan left dictates that drivers turn right onto a divided highway, make a U-turn through a designated median, and continue on their way. By turning right to turn left, Michigan lefts cut down on crashes in intersections.

Solving Traffic Flow in a Roundabout Way

Call them rotaries, call them traffic circles, call them roundabouts—drivers first call them a pain in the you-know-what, but once they learn the procedure and etiquette of navigating these traffic devices, they’re thankful. Replacing traditional traffic light intersections with roundabouts is a key part of how cities can make their highways safer. First popular in the United Kingdom and now making inroads stateside, roundabouts force drivers to be more mindful and careful as they drive, reducing rushing and sudden movements. That means safer conditions for drivers and pedestrians alike.

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