Lighted Paddle Improves Flagger VisibilityAbstract:
Highway maintenance projects, such as pothole repairs, put crews dangerously close to traffic. And because the work zone is only temporary, there’s not much protection for the workers, nor abundant warning for motorists. The main defense against traffic is generally a flagger, who uses a stop/slow paddle or a red caution flag to advise motorists of changing travel patterns or conditions. But motorists often fail to notice the flagger’s instructions.
South Dakota Department of Transportation (DOT), seeking a way of improving safety for its workers, decided to try an innovative new traffic control device developed under the Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP). The device, the flashing stop/slow paddle, is designed to grab the driver’s attention through the use of a high-intensity light. In normal conditions, the light is off. But if a motorist does not appear to be heeding the flagger’s instructions, the flagger can activate the flashing light.