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When to Use a Temporary Stop Sign

temporary-stop-signIn this post, we’ll consider the proper use of a temporary stop sign for traffic management.  The following information is derived from the 2009 edition of the MUTCD, part six.

General Guidelines

A variety of conditions can cause the need for temporary traffic control (TTC) measures.  These include power outages, natural disasters, civil unrest, sudden deterioration of road conditions, and criminal or terrorist activity.  A temporary stop sign is useful in such conditions, but only as part of a comprehensive effort by law enforcement that includes on-site supervision, visibility enhancers, and other appropriate measures.  A temporary stop sign should only be used by itself when resources are stretched so thin as to make any other precautions impossible or inadvisable. The sign should be removed as soon as conditions permit.

Psychological Factors

Drivers are creatures of habit.  They become accustomed to seeing the same conditions day in and day out on a familiar stretch of road.  As a temporary stop sign represents a break in this routine, it is important to make these TTC devices high in profile.  This will help motorists to recognize the sign and adjust their behavior accordingly.

Supplemental Measures

Authorities should reduce local speed limits in areas surrounding a temporary stop sign.  This will minimize the risk of accidents and give motorists extra time to react.  However, speed limits should be reduced in an incremental fashion if at all possible.  For example, if a temporary stop sign is five miles ahead on a two-lane rural road, authorities may reduce posted speed limits from 45 to 35 miles an hour, then to 25 miles per hour, and then lower as the distance between drivers and the sign decreases.

Unusual circumstances call for innovative approaches to traffic management, including the use of a temporary stop sign.  These measures can save lives when used according to MUTCD guidelines.  If your department is in need of one of these products, contact Impact Recovery today for a customized quote.