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Top 10 Uses for Hazard Markers

Hazard markers, also known as warning signs, are the subject of a large section of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD).  They serve the same purpose as coastal lighthouses once did: to alert oncoming travelers to dangerous conditions.  They’re commonly found in situations like the following:

 

  1. When there is a high degree of rollover risk for high-center-of-gravity vehicles.  This includes trucks of all sizes as well as RVs and buses.  Safety engineers identify these locations by one of three means:
  • An accelerometer
  • Design speed equations
  • A ball-bank indicator
  1. When drivers are approaching an exit and should slow their speed accordingly.  These markers should be installed along deceleration lanes and the advised speed should be prominently indicated.
  2. When vehicles are approaching a hill that poses special risks.  A heightened risk level exists in any of the following circumstances:
  • When there is a 5% grade more than 3,000 feet (914 m) long
  • When there is a 6% grade more than 2,000 feet (620 m) long
  • When there is a 7% grade more than 1,000 feet (305 m) long
  • When there is an 8% grade more than 750 feet (229 m) long
  • When there is a 9% grade more than 500 feet (152 m) long
  • In cases where steeper grades exist or where visual surveys indicate a need
  1. When drivers are approaching a runaway truck ramp, workers should place the markers at one mile 1.6 km) and .5 mile (.8 km) distances from the ramp as well as just before the ramp itself.  An additional notice stating FOR RUNAWAY VEHICLES ONLY should also be placed ahead of the ramp.
  2. When drivers are approaching a narrow bridge.  A narrow bridge exists in either of the following circumstances:
  • When a bridge or culvert has a two-way vehicle clearance of less than 16 feet (4.9 m)
  • When a bridge or culvert has a narrower clearance than the lanes on the approaching roadway
  1. When drivers are approaching a one-lane bridge or culvert.  A one-lane bridge exists in any of the following circumstances: 
  • When a bridge has a roadway width of less than 16 feet (4.9 m)
  • When a bridge has a roadway width of less than 18 feet (5.5 m) on roads where there is a significant amount of traffic from commercial vehicles
  • When there is a roadway width of less than 18 feet (5.5 m) along with limited sight distance when approaching the bridge or culvert
  1. When drivers are approaching a section of divided highway.  A divided highway exists when opposing lanes are separated by traffic lane dividers, such as medians, islands, or other barriers.
  2. When drivers are approaching a section of road that terminates in a dead end or cul-de-sac.  In these cases, hazard markers are often combined with street signs notifying drivers of where they should turn.  In many cases, however, drivers in these circumstances have no choice but to reverse direction; this should be noted by appropriate signage.
  3. When drivers are approaching a stretch of road with a hazardous surface.  This includes the following situations:
  • When loose gravel is in place on the road
  • When drivers are nearing an area with uneven lanes
  • When drivers are approaching a section of road next to a hill or mountainside where falling rock hazards are common
  • When drivers are approaching a bridge during times of the year when freezing conditions are likely
  1.  When drivers are approaching unusual shoulder conditions, including the following:
    • Shoulder drop-off, when there is a sudden fall-off beyond the shoulder edge
    • No shoulder, when a shoulder simply isn’t present in a section of upcoming road
    • Shoulder ending, when the existing shoulder abruptly terminates ahead

 

Contact Impact Recovery Systems for help in determining which hazard markers are right for your purpose.