SafeTREC Director Simon Washington on the Bay Bridge S-Curve
In the Contra Costa Times (Nov. 11, 2009) New bridge bypass throws a curve at drivers... A UC Berkeley traffic expert said safety concerns are heightened when freeway curves are new.
"People tend to go on autopilot when they're driving a road they're accustomed to," said Simon Washington, director of the safety transportation research and education center.
"They're used to a straight bridge; now they have a curve. Speed is definitely an issue on curves."
Caltrans has called in Washington to advise on whether the agency needs to take other measures.
On "All Things Considered," National Public Radio (Nov. 11, 2009) Play audio of story. ...Traffic safety expert Simon Washington at UC Berkeley says commuters tend to get in a comfortable and sometimes dangerous groove.
SIMON WASHINGTON (Director, Safe Transportation Research and Education Center, UC Berkeley): If there is an analogy to draw that they go in an automatic pilot mode - because they drive the same route every day, it becomes almost something they feel like they can do in their sleep. Well, when you change this major route, you have to readjust their behavior.
In the San Francisco Chronicle (Nov. 10, 2009): Drivers ignoring S-curve warnings to slow down: During the morning commute, a digital billboard at the westbound incline read, "Slow Down. 35 MPH Curve Two Miles Ahead," yet few drivers heeded the warning, perhaps because of distraction or a simple refusal to slow down, said Simon Washington, director of the Safe Transportation Research and Education Center at UC Berkeley.
Washington, an expert in traffic safety who will analyze the stretch for Caltrans in the coming days, said most of the 40-plus accidents at the site since it opened Sept. 8 reportedly were due to driver distraction or a driver's "unwillingness to reduce speed."...
|On KGO, Channel 7 (Nov. 9, 2009)|