Run Off Road

Run-off-road crashes are common, especially in high speed areas. They occur at bends and on straight sections of road. In high speed environments they can have severe outcomes, particularly if an object is hit (for example trees, poles, pedestrians) or there is a steep embankment or cliff.

Research shows that the survival rate for hitting an object head-on reduces dramatically above 70 km/h, while a side impact into a pole or tree is greatly reduced at speeds above 40 km/h. Therefore, the consequences of running off the road above this speed will often be severe.

There are a number causes for this crash type, including:

  • driver fatigue
  • impairment (including alcohol, drugs, and use of medication)
  • speeding
  • avoiding hazards on the road.

There are also a number of road related features that contribute to a higher incidence of run-off-road crashes, including:

  • presence of road curves (especially where they are unexpected, or their severity is greater than expected)
  • narrow or no road shoulder
  • poor road surface condition

Engineering treatments generally act to assist drivers to stay on the road (e.g. improvements to the road surface, advanced information about curves and their severity), alert drivers that they are leaving the road (e.g. rumblestrips), improve the chance of recovering control of the vehicle if it does leave the road (e.g. shoulder treatments), or reduce the severity of the outcome if a vehicle does leave the road (e.g. clear zones and crash barriers).

Safer Roads
Estimated cost
Casualty Reduction
Delineation
Low
10-25%
Rumble Strips
Low
10-25%
Skid Resistance
Low to medium
25-40%
Roadside Safety - Hazard Removal
Low to medium
25-40%
Sideslope Improvement
Medium
10-25%
Roadside Safety - Barriers
Medium
40-60%
Shoulder Sealing
Medium
25-40%
Speed Management
Medium
25-40%
Traffic Calming
Medium to high
25-40%
Lane Widening
Medium to high
25-40%
Median Barrier
Medium to high
60% or more
Realignment - Horizontal
High
25-40%
Realignment - Vertical
High
10-25%
Safer Vehicles
Estimated cost
Casualty Reduction
Vehicle Features and Devices
Low
60% or more
Motor Vehicle Standards
Low
60% or more
Used Car Safety Ratings
Low
60% or more
Vehicle Roadworthiness
Low
60% or more
New Car Assessment Program (NCAP)
High
25-40%
Safer People
Estimated cost
Casualty Reduction
Enforcement
Low
60% or more
Addressing Alcohol and Other Drugs
Low
60% or more
Education
Low
60% or more
Fatigue Management
Low
60% or more
Helmets and Protective Clothing
Low
60% or more
Seatbelts
Low
60% or more
Safe Speed
Low
60% or more
Publicity
Low
60% or more
Licensing
Medium
40-60%

Safer Roads

Safer Roads
Estimated cost
Casualty Reduction
Delineation
Low
10-25%
Rumble Strips
Low
10-25%
Skid Resistance
Low to medium
25-40%
Roadside Safety - Hazard Removal
Low to medium
25-40%
Sideslope Improvement
Medium
10-25%
Roadside Safety - Barriers
Medium
40-60%
Shoulder Sealing
Medium
25-40%
Speed Management
Medium
25-40%
Traffic Calming
Medium to high
25-40%
Lane Widening
Medium to high
25-40%
Median Barrier
Medium to high
60% or more
Realignment - Horizontal
High
25-40%
Realignment - Vertical
High
10-25%

Safer Vehicles

Safer Vehicles
Estimated cost
Casualty Reduction
Vehicle Features and Devices
Low
60% or more
Motor Vehicle Standards
Low
60% or more
Used Car Safety Ratings
Low
60% or more
Vehicle Roadworthiness
Low
60% or more
New Car Assessment Program (NCAP)
High
25-40%

Safer People

Safer People
Estimated cost
Casualty Reduction
Enforcement
Low
60% or more
Addressing Alcohol and Other Drugs
Low
60% or more
Education
Low
60% or more
Fatigue Management
Low
60% or more
Helmets and Protective Clothing
Low
60% or more
Seatbelts
Low
60% or more
Safe Speed
Low
60% or more
Publicity
Low
60% or more
Licensing
Medium
40-60%

Did you know?

A high friction surface can reduce braking distances and decrease the likelihood of vehicles losing control through skidding.

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