Our roads are a lifeline for our economy. Safe and efficient roads are crucial to our communities and allow logistics and fleet management companies to transport essential goods and services across the country. Just like any other infrastructure in our lives, roads must be regularly checked and audited to ensure the safety of the millions of people who use them each day. If you’re an organization that is tasked to perform these audits, here’s a comprehensive road safety audit checklist to keep you on track.
What is a Road Safety Audit?
A road safety audit is a process of identifying safety concerns and risks on local roads. This auditing process helps reduce the number of accidents on the road and serves as a starting point for road improvements that can improve the flow of traffic and increase public safety.
Key Elements of a Road Safety Audit Checklist
Every city, state, and town has different areas of weakness when it comes to their public roadways. The plans and changes required to make a road safe and efficient differ from town to town. However, a road safety audit checklist should generally address these areas:
Road Function & Surroundings
Throughout the US, roads are classified by the type of service they provide. This classification is referred to as the road’s function. There are four different functions: Interstates, Other Arterials, Collectors, and Local Roads. Each function must follow specific guidelines regarding lane widths, shoulder widths, and other criteria.
Here are some key elements to include in your road safety audit checklist regarding road function:
- Speed limit regulations are specific to each road function and posted clearly
- Each road function meets criteria for shoulder width
- Each road function meets standards for lane width
- Curve radius dimensions are met for each specific type of road function
The cross-section of the road includes lanes and shoulders, curbs, medians, roadside slopes, ditches, and sidewalks. Cross-sections should be designed to reduce the risk of hydroplaning and skidding, and they should include well-maintained slopes and drainage facilities like gutters, drains, and curbs. Guardrails, concrete barriers, and attenuation devices are used to keep drivers out of the cross-sections and prevent collisions with other cars.
Some elements to include regarding cross-sections:
- Medians are installed to prevent crossover traffic
- Lane width is reduced in built-up areas
- Warning signs and speed signs are posted
- Drainage ditches are adequately maintained
When drivers try to maneuver tight curves at a high rate of speed, accidents can occur. Tight curves can also make it difficult to gauge how much space they have when trying to pass or overtake another driver.
Some elements to include regarding road alignment:
- Reconstruction of curves (increase the radius of a horizontal curve)
- Reducing the gradient of a vertical curve
- Appropriate signage and warnings regarding passing
- Installation of guardrails
- Proper lighting
- Removing vegetation and other visual obstacles that could obstruct the view on a tight curve
Channelization is a tool used by auditors to manage traffic in places where high-speed roads come together. This can be done through the installation of traffic islands, curbs, and road markings that help drivers prepare to maneuver through an intersection. In rural areas, channelization focuses on protecting a turning vehicle from oncoming traffic and allowing them to transition into the flow of traffic smoothly.
Some elements to include regarding intersections:
- Installation of raised islands
- Narrowing of traffic lanes
- Adequate lighting
- Clear markings to guide drivers through intersections
- Safe U-turn solutions
Service & Rest Areas
Entrances and exits to and from gas stations and rest areas can disrupt traffic and are commonplace for accidents. Special attention should be paid to lanes designed for acceleration and deceleration, working to make it easy for drivers to merge safely.
Some elements to include regarding service areas and roadside services:
- Safe and efficient parking areas
- Adding or improving a pedestrian walkway
- Proper signage marking speed limits, wrong-way signs, and pedestrian crossing
- Adequate lighting
- Installation of guardrails
Needs of Vulnerable Road Users
Pedestrians are the most vulnerable road users and put themselves at risk every time they step out onto a busy roadway. While it is the responsibility of both drivers and pedestrians to follow road laws and always be aware of their surroundings, some elements can be put in place to keep bikers, joggers, and other pedestrians safe.
Some elements to include in your checklist regarding pedestrian safety include:
- Separated pedestrian crossing areas
- Construction of bridges or underpasses
- Pedestrian guardrails are installed on overpasses
- Bridges and underpasses are safe and well-lit to encourage pedestrians to use them
- Adding speed reduction devices near pedestrian crossing areas
Traffic Signs, Marking & Lighting
Drivers use signs and lights to help them navigate the roadways safely. They rely on warning signs and directional signs to guide them through dangerous and congested areas. One responsibility of a safety audit is to ensure there is proper signage, markings, and lighting to help drivers navigate the roads.
Some elements to include regarding traffic signs and markings:
- Signs made of highly reflective materials
- Signs in dangerous places have a yellow-green border
- Warning signs for fog, animal crossing, and other hazards
- Installation of rumble strips, reflective road markers and durable road marking materials
- Differentiated warning signs for school zones and high-risk areas
Create Custom Checklists & Mobile Forms with Device Magic
If your job involves making sure local roads and highways are safe and efficient, you will need a thorough and detailed road safety audit checklist to make sure you’re considering all aspects of the road. With Device Magic Mobile Forms, you can use a drag-and-drop form builder to create a road checklist tailored to your specific project. The geo-mapping features make it easy to identify the portion of the road you are inspecting, and the photo features allow you to document areas of concern out in the field.
Access your mobile forms even when you’re offline and integrate them directly into your business platforms. Start your free trial of Device Magic today to streamline the road safety audit process.