In response to the challenges posed by the winter season, including reduced visibility on National Highways, Shri Santosh Kumar Yadav, Chairman of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), has announced a comprehensive set of measures to ensure the safety of highway users. The initiative, focusing on combating the risks associated with foggy conditions, includes a mix of engineering improvements and heightened safety awareness campaigns.
The engineering measures are extensive, targeting crucial aspects of highway safety. They involve the repair and reinstallation of damaged or missing road signs, improvement of pavement markings, and enhanced visibility of safety devices through the use of reflective markers. Special attention is being paid to accident-prone areas and construction zones, with the implementation of transverse bar markings and functional blinkers to alert drivers. The NHAI is also replacing hazard marker signs at key locations such as diverging and merging points on the highways.
Equally important are the safety awareness measures. The NHAI plans to utilize Variable Message Signs (VMS) to display fog-related alerts and speed limit advisories. Public Address Systems will also be employed to caution drivers about maintaining a safe speed during foggy conditions. Additionally, electronic billboards, radio broadcasts, and social media platforms will be used for public service announcements, particularly at Toll Plazas and Wayside Amenities. The NHAI is also advocating the use of reflective tapes on vehicles to enhance their visibility on the highways.
Furthering its commitment to safety, the NHAI is encouraging officials to raise awareness about the importance of using blinkers and adhering to traffic rules in foggy conditions. Safety awareness pamphlets, complete with contact information for reporting foggy conditions or accidents, will be distributed at toll plazas.
In a proactive move, NHAI field offices have been instructed to conduct weekly nighttime highway inspections. These inspections, involving NHAI officials, Independent Engineers, and Contractors, aim to assess visibility and identify areas needing additional safety measures. Highway Patrol vehicles will be strategically placed near areas prone to dense fog. The operation and maintenance teams are equipped with red/green blinking batons to manage traffic in emergencies and are working closely with local law enforcement, ambulance services, and municipal authorities. Joint drills and exercises are also planned to enhance coordination during fog-related emergencies.
The NHAI’s efforts are part of a broader commitment to mitigate the risks associated with travelling on National Highways during the winter season and to ensure a safe and seamless travel experience for all highway users.