About 1.7 million rear-end collisions take place on highways in Illinois and around the country each year according to the National Transportation Safety Board. These accidents kill approximately 1,700 road users and leave a further 500,000 injured, but the results of a study conducted on one of Missouri’s busiest stretches of road suggest that many of them could be prevented.

Driver alerts

Many rear-end collisions are caused by traffic slowdowns in construction zones and near accident sites. A team of researchers from the University of Missouri chose a notoriously crash-prone section of Interstate 270 near St. Louis to find out if notifying drivers about slow-moving vehicles ahead would keep traffic moving and prevent rear-end impacts. Warning signs posted near traffic bottlenecks usually just advise drivers to slow down. The researchers discovered that posting advisory speed limits instead was far more effective. The study was conducted with the help of the Missouri Department of Transportation.

Traffic queues cut in half

The researchers discovered that posting advisory speed limits reduced the length of traffic queues by 53% and cut down the number of rear-end collisions by almost a third. They also noticed that drivers who are given clearer directions tend to become involved in fewer conflicts over lane changes. While posting advisory speed limits tended to calm the flow of traffic, it only increased travel times slightly.

Whiplash injuries

Drivers and passengers often suffer serious whiplash injuries when the vehicles they are traveling are struck from behind. These injuries can be debilitating and difficult to treat, but they are not always immediately apparent. Before initiating lawsuits against negligent drivers, experienced personal injury attorneys may refer car accident victims to specialists to find out if they have any undiagnosed injuries. This could help attorneys to ensure that the damages they seek are sufficient to cover the costs of long-term medical care and physical therapy.