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Wrong Way Driving - Road Safety Audit Prompt List

Wrong Way Driving – Road Safety Audit Prompt List

September 2013

Downloadable Version
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This document contains a Road Safety Audit (RSA) prompt list intended to focus specific attention on Wrong Way Driving (WWD) issues and contributing factors. The prompt list has been developed in a similar framework to the broader RSA prompt lists contained in Chapter 8 of the FHWA RSA Guidelines document. Like the original lists, the Wrong Way Driving prompt list is intended to help the RSA team identify potential safety issues, avoid overlooking important factors, and proactively identify potential issues. The prompts are only an aid to the RSA team and they are not intended to cover all conditions or circumstances an RSA team may encounter.

Numerous studies of the contributing causes and issues surrounding WWD crashes, conducted primarily by State departments of transportation since the 1960s, indicate that WWD crashes are much more likely to result in fatalities or severe injuries than other highway crash types and highlight several factors that must be acknowledged by any WWD-related RSA. Categorically, there are significant human factors and environmental conditions generally associated with WWD crashes. Various research efforts have found the following correlations:

Based on this information, RSA teams should carefully consider the conditions under which to conduct an RSA that includes review of WWD crashes. The RSA should consider the potential for various human factors, such as impaired driving, older drivers with diminished eyesight, and inexperienced drivers prone to driving mistakes, to affect WWD crash potential.

Additionally, environmental factors, such as nighttime conditions or elevated traffic activity related to events on weekends, may affect safety within the RSA site. For instance, it may be critical for WWD-related RSA teams to involve user groups comprised of drivers in the most vulnerable demographics and schedule field reviews to coincide with the prevailing crash periods, including nighttime, weekends, and closing time for drinking establishments. Given the elevated severity potential of WWD crashes, the RSA team is encouraged to consider the perspective of critical RSA partners, including law enforcement and emergency response agencies, whose knowledge of localized conditions and vulnerable user groups may be critical to developing mitigation strategies, outreach approaches, and enforcement policies.

Master Prompt List

Scope of Project, Function, Traffic Mix, and Road Users Design Signs and Markings Time of Day Conditions Seasonal and
Temporary Conditions

Proximity of freeway access and intersections

Older, unfamiliar, intoxicated drivers

Changes in traffic volume and mix




Sight lines

Lane configuration

Positioning (conspicuity)

Visibility (day and night)



Supplementary signs and pavement markings



Peak vs. off-peak traffic conditions



Detailed Prompt Lists

Scope of Project, Function, Traffic Mix, Road Users


Signs and Markings

Time of Day Conditions

Seasonal and Temporary Conditions

For more information on Road Safety Audits

Federal Highway Administration
FHWA Road Safety Audit Guidelines
Publication No. 33 FHWA-SA-06-06
Washington, DC, 2006


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