Can epoxy help curb Colorado’s accident fatality numbers?
Drivers are often responsible for crashes. Distracted driving, impaired driving, and speeding are among the most common causes of traffic accidents. But other factors, like weather and road quality, also contribute, and a relatively new method of paving roads may help to reduce traffic fatalities.
According to the Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), roadway departure (RwD) crashes are among the deadliest.
An RwD crash is one in which the driver crosses a center line or road edge and crashes into another vehicle or into an object like a pole or tree. From 2015 to 2017, an average of 19,233 deaths were linked to RwD accidents. Many occurred in rural areas, especially in parts of the road with sharp curves. Colorado is among the states that have seen a rise in deadly rural traffic crashes. According to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), in 2018 the fatality rate on non-interstate rural roads “was more than double that on all other roads in the state (1.97 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 0.96).”
Driver education, roadway markings and warning signs, and better pavement like high friction surface treatment (HFST) may all help reduce accidents. HFST involves adding a layer of a durable compound like epoxy to the road surface to create skid resistance, thereby enabling a driver to exercise greater control of his vehicle when roads are wet or curves are sharp — especially when the driver is going faster than he should. Pennsylvania, Kentucky, South Carolina, and other states have tested HFST. According to the tests, treatments were correlated with a 100 percent reduction in accidents in Pennsylvania, a 90 percent reduction in Kentucky, and a 57 percent reduction in South Carolina. Most states are now using HFST on a limited basis to determine where it would be most helpful in reducing auto accidents.
From Tarmac to Tread
Motorists depend on city and state officials to make roadways as safe as possible. But they also have an obligation to protect themselves and others by maintaining their vehicles, including the parts where the rubber meets the road.
A tire is only as good as its tread. The friction between tires and the road enables a vehicle to move and, with braking, to stop. If your vehicle has worn or improperly inflated tires, the result is less friction and less control of your car.
Maintain the tires of your vehicle on a regular schedule.
- Check air pressure monthly and make sure that each tire has the same pressure.
- Inspect the tires for any sign of tread wear. A good way to do so is by taking a quarter, using the side with Washington’s head, and placing it upside down in each groove of the tread every fifteen inches or so. If the tread covers the head, the tread is adequate.
- Know how many miles your tires are expected to travel before the tire must be replaced. If you drive 15,000 or fewer miles per year, tires are typically good for three or four years before the rubber starts to degrade.
- Make sure your spare tire is also in good shape. When you need it, it has to be in good condition.
Auto experts will tell you that tire maintenance is vital to keeping you, your passengers, and others on the road safe. Poor maintenance can lead to flat tires or blowouts.