Sign of dangerous times

To help drivers in Israel make correct decisions and avoid collisions at intersections without traffic lights, a team at the Transportation Research Institute at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology has developed a device with a difference.

Consisting of two cameras mounted on a pole — one facing the main road and the other the secondary road — the system features an in-built computer to process data received from the cameras.

When a risk of collision is identified, flashing lights on two ‘Give Way’ signs are activated. According to system developer Dr Yotam Abramson, accidents at intersections without lights occur when drivers coming from the secondary road do not notice the traffic sign and are unaware they do not have the right of way.

Another cause is when they notice the sign but do not acknowledge the information.

‘In both cases, the driver makes the incorrect decision,’ said Abramson. ‘The idea is that the flashing light will draw attention to the sign and increase alertness.’

The device is being tested at an intersection in Tel Aviv. This has limited visibility and high-speed access from the main road, and differentiating between that and the secondary road is difficult.

The researchers believe the device will reduce accidents and near-accidents without impeding main road traffic flow.