Fleet Drivers - Welcome the Chevrons
Those of you who drive for a living may have noticed new road markings on the motorways and dual carriageways in some parts of the UK. Chevron shaped road markings are being added in an effort to improve road safety. The chevrons are designed to enable drivers to judge the gap between their vehicle and the car in front more accurately. They are painted on the roads to warn drivers that they need to leave at least a two second gap to the vehicle ahead. It is hoped that this will reduce the number of accidents cause by vehicles driving too close to each other.
When you’re driving at 70 mph on the motorway, especially in heavy traffic, it’s all too easy to have a lapse of concentration and creep a little too close. The chevrons on the roads are usually placed 40 metres apart and there will usually be a road sign advising drivers to “keep to chevrons apart”, the number of chevrons sometimes changing during particularly severe weather.
The Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) has worked with governments for the past 80 years to set standards and formulate policy on transport and traffic issues. The TRL is dedicated to improving safety, managing risk, reducing environmental impacts and encouraging good engineering practice.
Their early research focused on road design and materials, with attention also on safety. Over the years as the number of vehicles on the roads has increased, so has the number of traffic accidents. This had led to safety becoming a major issue when it comes to transport today.
TRL research has revealed that sections of road or motorway that have these painted chevrons have seen a dramatic drop in the number of accidents caused by “close following”. TRL claims that the reduction in accidents on a given stretch of road can be as much as 56%.
During a tailgating survey, TRL discovered that motorists driving on a stretch of road marked with chevrons generally leave a two second gap to the vehicle in front but that tailgating picked up again after the chevron patch (although it did take up to 18 km to close the gap).
Chevrons represent an effective tool to help motorists observe the two second rule – which is appropriate for dry weather conditions. Of course, here in the UK, we seem to be “blessed” with rather a lot of rain, usually all year round. This means that our roads are often wet, so maintaining a sensible distance from the car ahead needs to be ingrained into our driving habits.
During wet weather, we’re advised to at least double the gap that we would normally leave between our own vehicle and the one in front. Although this may look like quite a large gap, it’s necessary to reduce risks. If a vehicle overtakes and drops into the gap, then you’ll need to reduce your speed slightly to open up the gap again.