January 17, 2023

The Best Way to Make Drivers Move Over

 

For most drivers, it’s something easy to take for granted. Every day, we drive by work zones, emergency vehicles, tow trucks, and other hazards on the road that require us to slow down and move over. It happens so frequently that we may not even take notice.

But for the responders and workers inside those vehicles and working at those sites, the difference between an attentive driver and a distracted driver can mean life and death. An estimated 300,000 preventable crashes involving alerting vehicles or work zones occur every year - more than 820 a day on average - leading to billions of dollars in damages, tens of thousands of injuries, and thousands of fatalities.

For decades, roadway responders and workers have relied on familiar tools to protect them from these collisions: flashing lights, sirens, cones and arrow boards, signage, and other equipment designed to capture driver attention. As an extra protection, every state in the last 25 years also adopted a Move Over law, resulting in fines and penalties for drivers that don’t move over. 

Even still, collisions have continued to rise, demonstrating the need for new protections more effective at getting motorists to move over. While vehicles continue to get safer and smarter, drivers are more distracted and insulated from the road around them than ever before. But advancements in vehicle connectivity have also laid the foundation for a new solution that may be the most effective move over tool in the history of American roads.

Digital Alerting Tells Drivers What They Need to Know

Digital alerts are safety-oriented messages that are sent between things on the road. Since 2017, digital alerting has been deployed on emergency and specialty vehicles, tow trucks, and work zones in all fifty states. When alerting vehicles and equipment on the road activate digital alerts, approaching drivers can receive notifications directly in their vehicles warning them of an impending hazard and reminding them to move over.

Rather than hoping that lights and cones get the attention of a drivers before it’s too late, digital alerts provide roadside workers and responders with the ability to get a lifesaving Slow Down, Move Over message to motorists in a way they can’t miss. Digital alerts also provide automakers with critical road safety information to enhance features like ADAS and collision avoidance, mapping, autonomous routing, and more.

Studies show that compared to traditional lights and sirens, digital alerts reduce the risk of collision by 90%. In another study, digital alerting was shown to reduce driver hard-braking near roadside incidents by 80% - even when only 30% of drivers received alerts. These findings support additional research from federal agencies like NHTSA and NTSB, who estimate that connected vehicle capabilities and V2X technologies could prevent over 615,000 crashes and address 80% of nonimpaired driver collisions annually.

It turns out that the best way to get drivers to move over is simply to tell them. Now, with digital alerting, any responder anywhere can do just that.  

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