Will painted chevrons prevent the Tuggeranong Parkway car trap?

Ian Bushnell 2 August 2019 172
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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172 Responses to Will painted chevrons prevent the Tuggeranong Parkway car trap?
bigred bigred 10:29 am 03 Aug 19

I guess they deserve marks for trying to solve the seemingly intractable problem, but with the latest version of the ACT Road Rules Manual recommending a 3 second gap, and a chevron representing 1 second @100 km/h the decision makes have already created confusion among users of this bit of road. Hopefully, they can resolve this confusion with the next iteration.

I imagine the existence of the chevrons would enable to police to mount a fairly effective tailgating infringement issuing campaign and boost their tally against quota.

greensareliars greensareliars 11:25 am 03 Aug 19

The top photo shows that no-one is going to leave the recommended “2 chevron gap” when the traffic is heavy. A good number of drivers in the picture aren’t even leaving half the recommended gap.

Trish Roberts Trish Roberts 11:28 am 03 Aug 19

I think it will need more than a few markings. I don’t have a car, but when family visit we like to travel to the Arboretum, the Zoo, but the road conditions and other drivers around there make it scary. The whole road system needs to be fixed.

    Trish Roberts Trish Roberts 3:34 pm 03 Aug 19

    Pat Moran Am passenger. Which can at times be scary!

    Narelle Ford Narelle Ford 6:07 pm 03 Aug 19

    Trish Roberts I’ve never found that.

Alex Troy Elsworth Adkins Alex Troy Elsworth Adkins 11:30 am 03 Aug 19

Problems solved 👏

Stuart Carling Stuart Carling 11:31 am 03 Aug 19

Ha nope

I already drive trying to maintain this gap and have people pulling into it. It won’t change anything unfortunately

    James Forge James Forge 12:32 pm 03 Aug 19

    Soo true and even worse when they do it under brakes.

    Garrin Ross Garrin Ross 1:29 pm 03 Aug 19

    Seon Ferguson who cares if people pull into it? Makes virtually zero difference to your journey time.

    Vickie O'Malley Vickie O'Malley 1:48 pm 03 Aug 19

    Garrin Ross because its never just 1, it's 3 or 4 of them together. So many entitled drivers on our roads. The expectation that a driver move over into the right hand lane when that lane is chockers is riduculous. Stop lights should have been installed on the ramp.

    Simon Krix Simon Krix 1:52 pm 03 Aug 19

    Garrin Ross they're not talking about journey time, they're talking about leaving a safe gap between cars for safety reasons

    Garrin Ross Garrin Ross 2:34 pm 03 Aug 19

    Simon Krix I know that. However, when everyone leaves the recommended 3 second following gap then traffic flows much smoother and faster.

    https://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/roads/safety-rules/safe-driving/low-risk-driving.html

    Beth Leah Beth Leah 8:02 pm 03 Aug 19

    happens to me all the time on the Perth freeway - if you leave a gap - not even the safest for stopping suddenly - people pull in in front of you and take your 'safe space'. So ignorant.

    Andrew O'Brien Andrew O'Brien 10:11 pm 03 Aug 19

    Seon Ferguson pretty sure it's meant to be 2 seconds?

    James Bongard James Bongard 10:55 pm 03 Aug 19

    Stuart Carling we tried this in Canada years ago, all it did was draw driver’s eyes down so they weren’t looking far enough ahead, didn’t help at all.

    Judy Elferkh Judy Elferkh 10:14 am 05 Aug 19

    If I leave a safe gap and you fill it, I now should slow down, as you should do as well, to create the new safe gap. Unfortunately the people filling the gap often continue to swap lanes to get ahead of the traffic. Creating traffic that has to break to fit them in comfortably and or safely. Its all about them. A courteous need to change lanes is entirely different situation and can be accomadated by a lane of traffic, when given enough time, to barely interrupt flow of traffic.

Harvey Marchant Harvey Marchant 11:32 am 03 Aug 19

No. Drivers who are driving too close to the car in front will be distracted by the markings and run up the bum of the car they are following.

Pamela Tomlinson Pamela Tomlinson 11:35 am 03 Aug 19

Nope. People think it’s ok to drive bumper to bumper along there.

    Ute Diversi Ute Diversi 11:38 am 03 Aug 19

    Pamela Tomlinson Can't wait for it to get warmer so I can get back on my bike again. I hate being tailgated.

    Pamela Tomlinson Pamela Tomlinson 11:47 am 03 Aug 19

    I wish I could ride to work but it’s a little far.

    Hope you’re well!

Matthew Pez Matthew Pez 11:36 am 03 Aug 19

I don't know if the chevron's are safe. I drove down the parkway yesterday and used them, and they become quite hypnotic. It was spacing me out and relaxing me a bit too much.

    Sarah Jane Walden Sarah Jane Walden 11:46 am 03 Aug 19

    Perry Matthew I found the same thing yesterday in the mid day sun, I had to stop looking at them as they were starting to double and Triple and move, they were exactly what I would describe as hypnotic 😆

    Marcus Allan Marcus Allan 11:48 am 03 Aug 19

    Perry Matthew you may want to get that looked at. That’s not okay.

    Emily Carter Emily Carter 11:45 am 04 Aug 19

    Jeffery Sarah was really probably thinking about the correct spelling of bobs and vagene lets be real here

    Sarah Jeffery Sarah Jeffery 11:49 am 04 Aug 19

    Bobs vagene

Julie Coker-Godson Julie Coker-Godson 11:38 am 03 Aug 19

Good luck with that - Canberra drivers consider it their right to tailgate. I know, I lived there for over 20 years.

    Pat Moran Pat Moran 12:25 pm 03 Aug 19

    Julie Coker-Godson

    Yeah!!!!!!!

    And Canberra is the only place in the solar system where it happens...... YEAH!!!!!!

    😐

    Bronwyn Meredith Bronwyn Meredith 1:45 pm 03 Aug 19

    Pat Moran It's rife in Canberra. I remember a defensive driving instructor in Canberra welcomed his class to Canberra, "the tailgating capital of Australia". He was right.

    Pat Moran Pat Moran 2:05 pm 03 Aug 19

    Bronwyn Clarke

    Sorry, but your instructor was a gibberer. It’s rife everywhere.....

    James Irwin James Irwin 6:55 am 04 Aug 19

    I've lived in Sydney, Newcastle and Canberra. The driving in general is bad in Canberra and the tailgating is the worst I've experienced.

Paul Stephens Paul Stephens 11:39 am 03 Aug 19

Maybe enforcing the road rules and fining people who tailgate would encourage them to drive more safely?

    Lin Van Oevelen Lin Van Oevelen 1:07 pm 03 Aug 19

    You'd think that that would be pretty easy to do with those chevrons now, if it's combined with a speed camera?

    Police do fine people for failing to leave a safe gap if they attend a rearender. It really pleased me to hear that.

    James Irwin James Irwin 6:40 am 04 Aug 19

    Fining them before a rear ender happens might be more successful.

Nate Mooré Nate Mooré 11:47 am 03 Aug 19

People leave a gap; someone slots in; they slow down to create a gap; rinse and repeat. Car park.

    Stuart Herring Stuart Herring 12:07 pm 03 Aug 19

    No, it doesn't actually work that way. If everyone leaves a gap, then yes, people can slot in - but the only reason they have for slotting in is because they either need to exit, in which case better that they slot in comfortably ahead of time than force their way in at the last second, or because they wanted to get out of the right hand lane, thus allowing other people to pass.

    On the other hand, if people tailgate, then the slightest adjustment in speed from one person results in the car behind having to also adjust their speed - often in a hurry, which results in the person behind them also having to stop suddenly, and you end up with a standing wave of stopped traffic - not to mention an actual accident, which is when you really see a car park.

    The other thing you see, is that people who were passing someone have nowhere to safely move back into the left, so they end up staying in the right, resulting in both lanes filling up with tailgaters.

    Lee Powell Lee Powell 12:18 pm 03 Aug 19

    Stuart Herring spot on

    Lin Van Oevelen Lin Van Oevelen 1:05 pm 03 Aug 19

    Stuart, what also often happens on the Tuggeranong parkway is that drivers move into the right lane to give merging traffic space and then the cars that just merged start overtaking them on the left and they can't safely move back. I regularly see drivers stuck for ages in that situation.

    Nate Mooré Nate Mooré 1:11 pm 03 Aug 19

    Stuart Herring You give people too much credit. Its usually people who just want to change lanes because they think the traffic is flowing faster.

    Nate Mooré Nate Mooré 1:13 pm 03 Aug 19

    Seon Ferguson Then someone else does it an its 50. Then someone else does it and its 40. Rinse and repeat until...Car park

    Lee Powell Lee Powell 1:41 pm 03 Aug 19

    Only if they change lanes and then jump on the anchors. Really if they've overtaken you then they will be going faster and you won't have to adjust your speed at all

    Simon Krix Simon Krix 1:56 pm 03 Aug 19

    Lee Powell I think the expectation here is that they just merged into your lane in front of you after overtaking, and are now doing the same speed as you, so you brake to enlarge the gap.

    Stuart Herring Stuart Herring 2:01 pm 03 Aug 19

    Except if you'd left 75 m, you don't need to brake. You just ease up for a while. There's no need to immediately go from a 30m distance to 75.

    Merging is always going to have an effect on the speed if the combined volume of both roads exceeds the capacity of the destination road.

    Leaving a decent space doesn't cause that, but it does help prevent unexpected braking which causes more severe congestion and accidents.

    Simon Krix Simon Krix 2:03 pm 03 Aug 19

    The method of slowing down makes no difference, the point is the speed of the traffic decreases.

    Stuart Herring Stuart Herring 2:04 pm 03 Aug 19

    Because of the merging.

    Simon Krix Simon Krix 2:04 pm 03 Aug 19

    Yup, I believe that's Nathan's assertion

    Nate Mooré Nate Mooré 3:34 pm 03 Aug 19

    Such in-depth traffic engineering analysis! I'm reporting only as a fellow driver - idiots nip into my lane, meaning I have to slow down to broaden the gap again. And again. And again.

    Lee Powell Lee Powell 7:23 pm 03 Aug 19

    I don't understand why you would overtake a slower vehicle and then slow down to the same speed as them...makes no sense.

    Julia Ross Julia Ross 11:15 pm 03 Aug 19

    Lee Powell no it doesn't make sense, but it happens.

    Steph Lovrinovic Steph Lovrinovic 9:30 pm 05 Aug 19

    Lin Van Oevelen yep happens all the time no one lets you back in the left lane. People are nuts on the parkway. Had a guy over take me on his motor bike in my lane coz there was someone next to me in the right lane. It's a miracle that there aren't more accidents & who ever designed glen lock interchange is an f wit

Nuala Kelly Nuala Kelly 11:57 am 03 Aug 19

How about three lanes instead of two? Every week going to work from North to South there is a accident which causes chaos. Getting away to busy for two lanes. Expand!!

    Amanda Evans Amanda Evans 12:48 pm 03 Aug 19

    Nuala Kelly yes that's actually what is needed. The city has outgrown the road. It is over 40 years old now.

    John Wilson John Wilson 2:37 pm 03 Aug 19

    Because you know Nuala .. Life is not all about motor vehicles and the mega costly lane adding that people believe is finally going to allow some sort of free run, which will never happen. Have you not heard of induced demand.

    Kieran Vassallo Kieran Vassallo 8:11 am 04 Aug 19

    Glen Fuller but painting them reduces it?

    Sally Lee Sally Lee 9:14 am 04 Aug 19

    Nuala Kelly that would have been a better way to spend the money

Lisa Sharp Lisa Sharp 12:04 pm 03 Aug 19

Considering how many people don't know what these markings are.... No

Stephen Esdaile Stephen Esdaile 12:05 pm 03 Aug 19

I'll put down $20 it makes absolutely no difference.

Peter McMahon Peter McMahon 12:08 pm 03 Aug 19

They have them on the Bruce Highway in QLD. Don’t work there either.

Vic Franklin Vic Franklin 12:19 pm 03 Aug 19

But, but... I need to be in THAT lane, in like, 5km... LOOK! A gap! Quick, jump in!

Pat Moran Pat Moran 12:27 pm 03 Aug 19

Isn’t driving just something you do while having a bit of a sit around....? Something called ‘vision’ would be lost on most of the driving public.

Also, how about enforcement of keeping left? Now that would be a game changer.....

Oh...wait....the speed cameras along there do enough enforcement.....

Sarah Kristine Sarah Kristine 12:31 pm 03 Aug 19

Nope, because it just takes one person to think 60 is the speed limit and suddenly you’ve got a giant backup

Silins Kris Silins Kris 12:33 pm 03 Aug 19

Waste of tax payers money once again !!!

Claire Wilson Kaspura Claire Wilson Kaspura 12:34 pm 03 Aug 19

Having travelled along the M25 around London on a Monday peak hour, I could only marvel at the road’s design whereby all entry lanes continued as an extra lane and became the exit lane further along. At no time did entering/leaving traffic disrupt the flow of traffic. ACT Government could learn how to manage peak hour traffic flows if it had better freeway management which maintained traffic flow.

    Lin Van Oevelen Lin Van Oevelen 12:57 pm 03 Aug 19

    Isn't that like the Glenloch Interchange Northbound? People are constantly stepping on their brakes there when they have to swap lanes with other cars.

    Claire Wilson Kaspura Claire Wilson Kaspura 1:04 pm 03 Aug 19

    Lin Van Oevelen my point being that length and distance for lanes of entering/leaving freeways is sufficient to allow for smooth integration if traffic without slowing the flow eg the entry to the parkway could continue to become the Belconnen/city exist.

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