Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center

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NCHRP Research Report 881: Traffic Control Devices and Measures for Deterring Wrong-Way Movements

Product Type

Research Report


Melisa D. Finley, Raul E. Avelar, Steve P. Venglar, H. Gene Hawkins, Jr., and Haitham Al-Deek




This report provides an analysis of factors associated with wrong-way movements on unsignalized divided highways and freeways. The research used crash data involving wrong-way movements from three states to model relationships between traffic control devices and wrong-way movements that resulted in a crash. The divided highway analysis focuses on design, signage, and roadway markings, while the freeway analysis emphasizes the effectiveness of signage with flashing lights. The results are used to identify appropriate countermeasures and to develop specific recommendations for revisions to the Manual for Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) that may deter wrong-way movements by drivers. The safety analysis indicated that most wrong-way movements at divided highway crossings occurred when the driver turned left into the near-side roadway traveling in the wrong direction. The data indicated that this maneuver occurred for 90 percent of the wrong-way crashes for which the wrong-way entry point was specifically identified in crash documentation. Therefore, the suggested changes to the MUTCD language focus upon addressing this maneuver. Separate analysis of wrong-way driving event data supported the use of flashing red LEDs within the border of WRONG WAY signs at freeway exit ramps.

Link To Research Report

NCHRP Research Report 881: Traffic Control Devices and Measures for Deterring Wrong-Way Movements


Flashing traffic signals
Highway design
Highway safety
Road markings
Warning signs
Wrong way driving

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