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Using Chevron Panels with Highway Safety Systems

The Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) specifies the proper use of highway safety systems, including the placement of chevron panels.  Compliance with these rules is essential for ensuring a consistent approach to highway signage.  Failure to comply can confuse drivers, reduce safety, and cause accidents.  With that in mind, here’s a look at some of the major rules prescribed by the MUTCD for the use of chevron panels.

Installation

Regarding the placement of chevron panels along a curve, the MUTCD prescribes their use in this way:

If used, chevron alignment panels shall be installed on the outside of a turn or curve, in line with and at approximately a right angle to the approaching traffic.  Chevron alignment signs shall be installed at a minimum height of four feet, measured vertically from the bottom of the sign to the elevation of the near edge of the traveled way.

This rule is meant to ensure that chevron panels specifically capture drivers’ attention (hence “four feet”) and are quickly noticed (hence their location on the road’s outside edge).

Frequency

Chevron panels are used to remind motorists of the need to exercise caution while traveling on a curved road.  The sharper the curve, the slower the maximum safe speed and the more often these panels should be installed.  Specific MUTCD rules are as follows:

• On curves with an advised speed of 15 mph or less, chevron markers should be placed every 40 feet.
• On curves with advised speeds between 20 and 30 mph, chevron markers should be placed every 80 feet.
• On curves with advised speeds of 35 to 45 mph, chevron markers should be placed every 120 feet.
• On curves with advised speeds of 50 to 60 mph, chevron markers should be placed every 160 feet.
• On curves with advised speeds of 60 or more mph, chevron markers should be placed every 200 feet.

The above are examples of MUTCD rules regarding the use of chevron panels as part of overall highways safety systems.  More comprehensive information about these regulations is available at this web site from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration.