Soon, New York will be the first state in the nation to utilize innovative technology to alert drivers about to drive the wrong way onto the highway to turn around and to warn other drivers and police nearby of the impending danger of a wrong-way driver.
To achieve this feat, New York will place Doppler radar-assisted LED signs at sites where serious wrong-way crashes have occurred. Upon radar detecting a vehicle about to head the wrong direction onto the thruway, the signs will be triggered to flash bright warnings that will alert the driver and tell them to pull over and safely turn around. Yet to be installed, a fiber optics system will also send messages to other drivers in the area to be aware of the risk of collision with a wrong-way driver. In addition, the system will send an alert to the Thruway’s Statewide Operations Center that can be shared with local police.
So far, the Niagara Expressway (I-190) at the southbound exit 9 off-ramp in Buffalo and exit 10 on I-87/I-287 in Nyack, Rockland County have been designated as sites for the placement of the LED signs, with other exits along the thruway system in New York to be similarly identified for LED sign postings in the future.
Last year was the safest year in the 59-year history of the New York Thruway Authority, with an accident rate in New York that amounted to 20% below the national average. New York State’s greater use of technology, such as LED signs and fiber optics in place of ordinary “Wrong Way” metal signs, demonstrates the state’s strong commitment to make New York highways even safer.