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Reducing Rural Roadway Departures - Online Workshop

July 16 & 17, 2024

(9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Eastern Time)


6 Professional Development Hours can be granted for this course. No partial credit available. Attendees must attend at least 90% of each day of the workshop to get 6 PDHs.

Register ONLINE here.


Register by mail. Click here to download the brochure.


When a vehicle leaves the travel lane or the roadway, the results can be deadly. More than half of the annual fatal crashes in the U.S. relate to roadway departures. Roadway departure crashes are the leading cause of traffic deaths in many states. This workshop provides participants with some tools for addressing roadway departure crashes. Topics covered include a discussion of engineering countermeasures as well as implementation strategies.

One, often low-cost, strategy to address this issue is to reduce the potential for leaving the roadway, i.e., techniques to help keep vehicles on the roadway. Use of signing, delineation and rumble strips/stripes to reduce roadway departures is described with specific reference to relevant sections of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. The significance of roadway geometry and pavement friction in helping to keep vehicles on the roadway is also discussed. For those vehicles leaving the traveled way, it is important to try to improve the chances for a safe recovery. Techniques for improving shoulders and slopes and ditches are reviewed. Removing or relocating objects such as trees and utility poles in the clear zone are also addressed. The workshop concludes with discussion of how to minimize the severity of roadway departure crashes that do occur. Relevant techniques include breakaway supports, making roadside features traversable and shielding obstacles. Enhancing mailbox safety is also discussed.


This workshop should be of interest to state, county and municipal transportation, traffic and safety engineers, technicians, street supervisors, maintenance personnel and planners involved in roadway safety. Designers (engineers and landscape architects) should also find the workshop of interest.


Ronald W. Eck, PE
Ron Eck is a Professor Emeritus of Civil Engineering at West Virginia University and is the Director of the West Virginia Local Technical Assistance Program (WV LTAP). He has been involved in traffic engineering and roadway safety for over 45 years. He authored the Federal Highway Administration guide for local highway and street maintenance personnel entitled “Vegetation Control for Safety.” He regularly teaches roadway safety-related classes for public works personnel throughout the United States.


Introduction to Roadway Departure

  • Background
  • Nature and Magnitude of Problem
Getting to Safety: Implementation Strategies Keeping Vehicles on the Roadway
  • Signing/Delineation
  • Rumble Strips/Rumble Stripes
Keeping Vehicles on the Roadway
  • Pavements
  • Geometrics
Improving the Recovery Area
  • Shoulders
  • Slopes and Ditches
  • Removing/Relocating Objects
    • Clear Zone
    • Trees
    • Utility Poles
Minimizing the Severity of Crashes
  • Using Breakaway Supports
  • Shielding Obstacles
  • Dealing with Mailboxes


This is a free workshop for all city or county employees. Pre-registration is required. The registration fee for other attendees is $120 per person. TDOT employees must register through their local TDOT Training Office at least 10 working days in advance. Please note your employment status on the registration form. A course may be canceled if there is low enrollment. Forty-eight hours notice will be given to registrants if a course is canceled.. Register early! Limited enrollment!

Register ONLINE here.


Register by mail. Click here to download the brochure.