A Simulator Evaluation of Driver Responses to Dynamic Warning Signs at Rural Intersections
Authors: Amanda Stephens a, Eve Mitsopoulos-Rubens a, Nimmi Candappa a
Abstract: Intersections pose a risk to drivers, as they are the point at which different directions of traffic converge. Indeed a large proportion of serious and fatal crashes on Australian road occur in these circumstances. While some intersections provide less opportunity for crashes than others, unsignalised T-intersections on rural roads have the combined danger of reliance upon appropriate gap-judgments of minor road drivers turning on to the major road and the regulated high-speeds of the major road drivers. The current study investigated a strategy to mitigate high-speed crashes on rural roads by reducing the speed of major road drivers on approach to an intersecting minor road. Using a fixed-based medium-fidelity driving simulator, drivers’ speeds on major roads with intersecting minor roads were compared across three different types of warning signs. These were, a standard static side-road warning sign and two dynamic, two-state warning signs that activated when vehicles were present on the minor road. A further aim was to compare whether a regulatory sign, which when activated, mandated a speed of 80km/h (reduced from 100km/h), or an advisory sign, recommending a speed of 80km/h when activated was the most effective in reducing speed. Results indicated that when compared to the standard warning sign, dynamic regulatory and advisory signs were effective in reducing speed. However, while drivers largely complied with the regulated speed decrease of the regulatory sign, selected speeds were reliably higher than recommended by the advisory sign.
Keywords: Intersections, rural roads, T-intersections, warning signs
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