Sign of Progress

By on May 1, 2009
RoadKing Mag

The joke is that those flashing speed display signs sometimes placed on highways are seen by mischievous drivers as a dare to put up some big numbers. In truth, this traffic calming solution is one of the most effective means of slowing traffic and increasing safety. This is particularly the case around school zones, work zones, transitional speed zones and other locations where speeding traffic is of particular concern.

Radar speed display signs, also known as speed check signs and driver feedback signs, typically consist of a changeable speed display, a radar speed detector and a regulatory speed limit or advisory speed sign. The speeds of approaching vehicles detected by the radar are displayed in real-time.

A static sign that reads “Your Speed” is also attached to the display so passing drivers receive immediate feedback as to how fast they’re driving and how their speed relates to the posted speed limit.

In a recent survey, traffic engineers, police officers and safety professionals from around the nation ranked speed check signs as having the most immediate and long-lasting effect on calming traffic. These were followed by, in order: “Police with radar guns,” “speed bumps,” “static speed limit signs” and “rumble strips.”
Whether the signs make drivers more aware of exactly how fast they are going, or if they serve as a warning that speeders are being watched, the fact that they are effective is significant. The presence of a radar speed display sign causes a reduction in the average speed of just a few miles per hour —typically five to eight mph — but even this small change can substantially reduce the risk of serious injury or death, especially to pedestrians.

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