How Radar Speed Signs Can Improve Safety

Today, more than ever, transportation system technology incorporates both practical signage and intelligent digital technology that can deliver real-time feedback to drivers. Nowhere is this more evident than in the radar speed signs that have a Dynamic Speed Monitoring Display (DSMD).

Radar speed signs are an effective way to manage vehicular speeds in certain areas where accidents are more prone to happen, including school zones, downhill roads, during rush hour freeway congestion, along residential streets, and near construction zones.

What is a Radar Speed Sign?

Radar speed signs contain radar technology that can interact with oncoming cars and trucks. Typically, a series of LED lights will display the speed of an oncoming vehicle as it approaches the radar speed sign. The goal is to make every driver aware of how fast they are traveling, with the hope that they will slow down.

Often, these signs are also training drivers to become more alert and road-aware – as many drivers are often unaware of how fast they are traveling in a speed-limited area.

The result of erecting a Dynamic Speed Monitoring Display (DSMD) is a slower traffic pattern and a calmer community. Speed bumps and rumble strips can jar a driver into slowing down, but the radar speed sign is a gentler and often more effective means because the rate at which the driver is actually driving is posted in large, bright numbers.

The radar speed sign (Speed Limit R2-1 sign) is similar to the S5-1 School Speed Limit assembly that works to reduce driver speeds within school zones. Typically, they have installed a minimum of 7 feet above the sidewalk. Also, these “changeable message signs” can be trailer mounted for faster relocation and will often supplement conventional signs (like speed limit, construction zone, and school zone signage) rather than replace them.

The Impact of Radar Signs on Roadway Safety

Pedestrian fatalities due to vehicular incidents continue to increase across the nation. But some zones are more dangerous than others. These include school zones, construction or road work zones, along dangerous hills or bends in the road, and certain freeway entrances and exits.

According to CDC statistics, “More than 7,000 pedestrians were killed on our nation’s roads in crashes involving a motor vehicle in 2020. That’s about one death every 75 minutes.” The number one cause of most accidents continues to be distracted driving. Most drivers who are distracted are less likely to realize how fast they are going.

That’s what makes the high visibility of radar speed signs so beneficial. It can wake a driver to the fact that they are inside a reduced speed area, where otherwise they may have missed the conventional signage.

The NHTSA reports that in 2020, drivers who were speeding killed 11,258 people, and that speed was a contributing factor in 29% of all traffic fatalities. Everyone on the road is affected by speeding drivers and by distracted drivers who are unaware that they are going too fast in an area that has heightened dangers.

Radar speed signs can have a major impact on drivers by alerting them to a reduced speed zone and exactly how fast they are going. Slower speeds prevent the loss of control and give the driver an increased stopping distance in case a child does enter the roadway.

Features to look for in Radar Speed Signs

Radar speed signs are often referred to by different names, such as changeable message signs, radar feedback signs, or traffic-calming signs. These signs are also multifunctional and can be used not only to display each motorist’s speed in real time. Law enforcement and DOT are not the only ways to implement radar speed signs.

Motorists benefit from real-time feedback on their current speed, before reaching these sensitive areas. This way, they can slow down before reaching school zones, construction projects, or congested traffic.

Some features to look for when choosing the right radar speed signs for your application include variable power sources such as battery and/or solar power panels. Also, you can include a series of Smart Work Zone options that may include:

  • work zone cameras
  • queue warning systems
  • message signs
  • traffic detection devices
  • conflict warning system

Smart work zone technology allows the end-user to configure traffic control equipment and digital technology to fit their particular application or location to enhance worker safety and promote road traffic efficiency for motorists. Anytime there is a conflict between road workers and motorists, the intelligence of smart work zone technology can be implemented for higher safety ratings

Smart zone technology with radar speed signs can minimize the reliance on workers to observe traffic and maintain a safe environment. These systems are completely automated, portable, and reliable.

The immediate feedback from radar speed signs is instrumental in helping drivers self-correct before an incident occurs. The flashing digits when a driver is exceeding the posted speed limit can also include an optional message to “SLOW DOWN” which can be programmed to flash at pre-defined speeds.

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