Will painted chevrons prevent the Tuggeranong Parkway car trap?

Ian Bushnell 2 August 2019 169
Chevron inverted Vs

Inverted Vs are being trialled on the Tuggeranong Parkway, but how effective would they be in preventing collisions? Photos: Region Media.

A notorious section of the Tuggeranong Parkway has been selected for a trial of new road markings designed to prevent tailgating and rear end collisions.

Chevrons, or inverted Vs, have been painted on the northbound lanes of the Parkway between the Cotter Road and Lady Denman Drive ramps, a stretch of road that continues to be plagued by peak hour accidents that can turn it into a car park.

The ACT Government says that in good driving conditions, motorists are advised to keep at least two chevrons apart. If conditions are poor, or the motorist is towing or driving a heavy vehicle, an even greater distance between the vehicle in front is recommended.

The chevrons have also been placed on a southbound stretch of the Parkway between Hindmarsh Drive and Sulwood Drive in Kambah.

In good driving conditions, keep at least two chevrons apart. In poorer conditions, keep an even greater distance between the vehicle in front.

The Government says that in 2017 there were 7716 crashes in the ACT, with 3363 or 44 per cent being rear end collisions, resulting in one death and 97 injuries.

Roads ACT said in June that in the last five years there had been 239 reported crashes on the Tuggeranong Parkway adjacent to the Arboretum, while in the same period there have been 46 reported crashes at the on/off-ramps joining the Cotter Road and the Tuggeranong Parkway.

It said that in 2019 there had been 21 reported crashes at these two sites, 20 adjacent to the Arboretum and one at the Cotter Road, although there is a two-month lead-time for crash data to be cleared and entered into the database.

The Government says an evaluation of the effectiveness of the chevron trial is anticipated to see a reduction in rear-end crashes in the treated sections of road, and may see it extended to other hot spots.

Minister for Road Safety Shane Rattenbury said too many Canberrans habitually tailgate, despite the risks of a serious collision on our roads.

“Sadly, we’re practically notorious for it,” he said. “The reality is – tailgating causes accidents, and not all of them minor. Putting some distance between you and the car in front can make all the difference when it comes to making our roads safer.”

But whether the chevrons work will depend on Canberra drivers using them, and while some might leave enough space, that may only invite others to cut in front from adjacent lanes.

They might help the merging issues at ramps or near the Arboretum, but if a pile-up occurs there is still next to nowhere to move vehicles.

Solutions to these problems may be expensive design or engineering ones. A bit of paint on the road is a cheaper option and worth trying but it will depend on changing ingrained driver behaviour.

The trial is part of the ACT Road Safety Action Plan 2016–2020.

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169 Responses to Will painted chevrons prevent the Tuggeranong Parkway car trap?
wildturkeycanoe wildturkeycanoe 5:37 pm 14 Aug 19

Biggest problem is as people slow down to create the required gap, the flow on effect makes traffic behind slow down. Eventually there is a standstill some kilometres before the chevrons. It creates chaos, it doesn’t prevent it.

Trevor Bainbridge Trevor Bainbridge 4:39 pm 14 Aug 19

Chevrons are just as futile as the Road Rule that asks drivers to keep a 3 seconds gap. Actually the advice to keep two chevrons between vehicles is asking drivers to keep a 2 seconds gap at 100 km/h so is confirming that 3 seconds is ridiculous. Do the writers of these rules keep them themselves I wonder?

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 6:56 pm 14 Aug 19

    Trevor Bainbridge I was taught 2 seconds in good weather and a quick google search shows that some say 2, some say 3 and some say 2-3. But it’s actually a guide not a rule.

    The actual rule which is rule 126 says:

    “A driver must drive a sufficient distance behind a vehicle travelling in front of the driver so the driver can, if necessary, stop safely to avoid a collision with the vehicle.”

    As for the chevrons they are an awareness thing. The fact people are talking about them here shows awareness has been raised.

Connah Brown Connah Brown 8:57 pm 10 Aug 19

I've already seen at one point three cars managing to fit in the space between the point of on chevron and the end of the next.

Claire Claire 7:41 pm 08 Aug 19

These are not new. They are on the roads in other parts of Australia.

Adam Addinall Adam Addinall 6:59 pm 06 Aug 19

Oh that’s what they are for. I thought it was the starting grid for Canberra motorcycle riders Friday night rides.


Capital Retro Capital Retro 1:57 pm 05 Aug 19

They are as useless as a rainbow at a roundabout.

Alex Satrapa Alex Satrapa 12:28 pm 05 Aug 19

It is probably coincidental but I leave a three second gap always, and have never rear-ended someone on the Parkway (or anywhere else for that matter).

Yes, others will merge into the gap. So you slow down a little to open it up again. You are still moving, you will still get where you are going, just relax and focus on getting everyone to their destination safely.

If I could give everyone some advice it would be to be patient and don’t try overtaking the slow traffic only to cut across the slow lane at the last minute to take your exit. The slow lane is slow for two reasons: one being the rate at which the exit can safely take cars off the arterial road, and second because of the last-second-lane-changers causing everyone behind them to brake suddenly.

This applies for the Belconnen way Parkes way exit, the Cotter Road exit, the Hindmarsh drive exits, and even the Pialligo Road exit on the Monaro Highway.

Just be patient, maintain that gap, and don’t get upset about people merging safely into the safety gap you are proficiently maintaining. This is not a race.

Kelsey Stratford Kelsey Stratford 12:17 pm 05 Aug 19

Bailey Stratford this is what I was talking about

Grimm Grimm 10:02 am 05 Aug 19

If you want to reduce accidents, start fining people who probably shouldn’t be allowed to have drivers licenses to begin with. The ones that are doing 20 below the limit. The ones that try to merge onto the parkway while doing 70 or less, or even coming to a stop in the on-ramp… Those are the people causing the accidents.

Rhys Dennewald Rhys Dennewald 9:34 am 05 Aug 19

I used the chevrons correctly but continued driving past them down into the rest of Tuggeranong where there isnt any chevrons and all of a sudden I started driving unsafely and was scared and forgot how to drive. Could the government please paint chevrons on all roads and tracks just to be sure we are all safe . Thanks

Sue Ellen Sue Ellen 9:44 pm 04 Aug 19

Not if people keep pulling into the space in front of you. The entry ramp pictured is particularly notorious for drivers merging across the slow land and into the fast lane, even though they are travelling slower than the flow of traffic.

Sophie Counsell Sophie Counsell 8:08 pm 04 Aug 19

Rachel May the mystery is solved

Heather Byrne Heather Byrne 8:02 pm 04 Aug 19

Is tailgating against the law? How about booking some drivers who habitually do the wrong thing, would make a bigger difference than painting the road

Darren Paul Gillam Darren Paul Gillam 5:21 pm 04 Aug 19

When you unlock chevron 7, does the Stargate open and the tailgater disappears?

Chris Mitchell Chris Mitchell 3:08 pm 04 Aug 19

I thought these gave you a speed boost when you drove over them

    Brook Dixon Brook Dixon 3:22 pm 04 Aug 19

    Chris Mitchell 😆 I think that’s just in the movies. Or computer games? I can’t quite remember

    Chris Mitchell Chris Mitchell 4:24 pm 04 Aug 19

    Brook Dixon hmmm better stop slamming my foot down when i get to them then

Jane Bryan Jane Bryan 2:30 pm 04 Aug 19

It's something better than nothing!

George Rouvalis George Rouvalis 1:44 pm 04 Aug 19

Ishana Pilger those markers are used to spacing indicators to the car infront

Gilavon Gilavon 10:13 am 04 Aug 19

Maintaining the spacing is enough of an ask but it falls over when drivers reduce speed entering the 90 zone. Traffic then banks up bumper to bumper.

Mark Katalinic Mark Katalinic 8:41 am 04 Aug 19

Considering that the photo in the article shows a group of cars tail gating whilst driving over the chevrons I would say no.

Leah Trickett Leah Trickett 8:32 am 04 Aug 19

Daniel Squires classic Canberra

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