NHAI employs tech, signs, and media for safety in foggy winters

As winter tightens its grip on the northern regions, the challenge of ensuring highway safety intensifies amidst dense fog. The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has taken a proactive stance, implementing a series of measures to combat the hazards posed by diminished visibility during foggy conditions.

Engineering Measures: Reinforcing Road Infrastructure for Enhanced Safety

Road Signs and Pavement Markings:

One crucial aspect of NHAI’s strategy involves engineering measures to enhance road infrastructure. The focus is on reinstating missing or damaged road signs, correcting faded pavement markings, and ensuring sufficient visibility of safety devices through reflective markers and median markers.

Transverse Bar Markings and Hazard Signs:

To address safety in residential and accident-prone areas, NHAI is implementing transverse bar markings. Additionally, operational blinkers are being installed at median openings in under-construction zones and high-risk areas. The initiative extends to replacing damaged hazard marker signs at diverging and merging locations, fortifying the overall safety infrastructure.

Safety Awareness Measures: Informing and Alerting Highway Users

Variable Message Signs (VMS) and Electronic Signage:

NHAI is prioritizing safety awareness measures, incorporating cutting-edge technology. Variable Message Signs (VMS) and electronic signage are being employed to convey ‘Foggy Weather Alerts’ and speed limit messages to highway users, ensuring real-time information dissemination.

Public Address System and Media Integration:

The integration of a Public Address System plays a pivotal role in cautioning commuters about a reduced driving speed limit of 30 km/hr in foggy areas. Furthermore, NHAI is leveraging electronic billboards, radio broadcasts, and social media platforms for public service announcements at Toll Plazas and Wayside Amenities during foggy conditions.

Reflective Tapes for Enhanced Visibility:

An innovative approach involves installing reflective tapes across the full width of vehicles on highways, providing an additional layer of visibility and safety during foggy conditions.

Nighttime Highway Inspections: Ensuring Ongoing Safety Vigilance

NHAI has directed its field offices to conduct weekly nighttime highway inspections. These inspections, executed by a dedicated team comprising NHAI officials, independent engineers, and the concessionaire/contractor, aim to evaluate visibility on the highway thoroughly. The objective is to identify areas where additional provisions may be necessary, ensuring a continual focus on safety enhancement.

Strategic Deployment of Highway Patrol Vehicles:

To address dense foggy stretches effectively, NHAI is strategically stationing highway patrol vehicles near these areas. This tactical deployment aims to provide rapid response in case of emergencies, contributing to swift incident management.

Equipping Operations and Maintenance Teams:

The highway operation and maintenance team will be equipped with red/green blinking batons, allowing them to direct traffic efficiently in the event of an accident. This team will establish robust collaboration with local law enforcement, ambulance services, and municipal authorities, ensuring a cohesive and coordinated response to emergencies arising from fog-related incidents.

Joint Drills and Exercises: Enhancing Emergency Coordination

NHAI is going beyond routine measures, incorporating joint drills and exercises to enhance coordination during emergencies caused by fog. These simulated scenarios will involve NHAI teams, local law enforcement, ambulance services, and municipal authorities, fostering a seamless and well-coordinated response.

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