The likelihood of you being in a motor vehicle accident depends on various factors, including the speed of the vehicles involved. The higher the speed, the less time a driver has to react to a situation. Generally, drivers determine the appropriate speed based on the speed limit signs and road conditions.
However, in less-than-ideal conditions, driver error can result in catastrophic consequences. However, variable speed limits may be able to prevent serious accidents.
What are variable speed limits?
Digital signs display variable speed limits to give drivers an idea of the traffic conditions ahead. With traditional signs, drivers follow the speed limit but may not realize that traffic slows down severely a few miles ahead. If a driver cannot prepare for slowed speeds, he or she has a higher likelihood of causing an accident.
The variable speed limit takes into consideration the traffic on the road. The sign will change depending on road conditions.
How can the Department of Transportation apply VSLs?
Various factors should affect the speed limit on a highway. For example, the speed limit needs to drop in rainy or snowy conditions to protect drivers. The VSL will take into consideration road conditions, weather and traffic. In addition to the speed limit, VSL signs can warn drivers of accidents, lane closures and potential slowdowns.
The likelihood of serious injuries and fatalities increases at higher speeds. Speed strategies that consider the current road conditions may prevent more accidents because they use context to determine the speed rather than having one static limit.