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Reducing Collisions on Horizontal Curves

Vincent D. Reynolds, MBA, PE

There are thousands of miles of the U.S. highway system that traverse the nation through mountains, valleys, deserts, forests, and over bodies of water. Roadway alignment would not be possible without the use of horizontal curves. Horizontal curves provide a smooth transition for vehicles traveling along the highway. Horizontal curves are designed so that the vehicle's centrifugal force can be countered under normal circumstances. Horizontal curves can counter a vehicle's centrifugal force by the use of tire friction aided with roadway superelevation.

Several circumstances can occur which may make horizontal curves more dangerous and cause the driver to run off of the road or enter the opposing traffic lane resulting in a possible head-on collision. Run-off-road (ROR) and head-on collision crashes account for 87 percent of fatal crashes along horizontal curves, with the majority occurring on two-lane rural highways.

This course will cover the strategies that can be implemented to reduce collisions on horizontal curves. Several strategies will be studied such as superelevation enhancement, shoulder rumble strips, centerline rumble strips, roadway lighting and warning sign placement.

The student will be directed to study the document A Guide for Reducing Collisions on Horizontal Curves, as published on the website of the Transportation Research Board (TRB).

This course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.

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NY PE & PLS: You must choose courses that are technical in nature or related to matters of laws and ethics contributing to the health and welfare of the public. NY Board does not accept courses related to office management, risk management, leadership, marketing, accounting, financial planning, real estate, and basic CAD. Specific course topics that are on the borderline and are not acceptable by the NY Board have been noted under the course description on our website.