Dynamic hazards and how software improves road safety

Every driver faces potential hazards on the road, but not all are created equally. Hazards typically fall into two categories: static and dynamic.

Static hazards, like low bridges, weight or width restrictions, remain constant and are predictable after initial recognition. In contrast, dynamic hazards are transient and evolve with changing conditions on the road. This includes weather changes, debris, or unexpected movements.

In our latest blog post, we explore the ins and outs of dynamic hazards, discussing how technology can help to significantly improve safety for road users.

lorry driving on snowy road/terrain

What are dynamic hazards?

Dynamic hazards refer to road conditions that are unpredictable and can change from one moment to the next. Unlike static hazards, these are not fixed in the environment and can arise suddenly, requiring immediate attention from drivers.

Effective management of these hazards is crucial for ensuring road safety and minimising accidents.

Managing dynamic hazards effectively is crucial because of the immediate risk they pose to road safety. Drivers may have only moments to react to these conditions, making the timely and accurate detection of such hazards critical. The unpredictability of dynamic hazards also means that drivers must maintain constant vigilance and be prepared to adapt to changing road conditions.

Effective management of dynamic hazards reduces the likelihood of accidents by giving drivers advanced warning and the necessary information to make safe driving decisions.

Types of dynamic hazards

thunder rain cloud icon
Weather conditions:

Sudden changes in weather, like fog, heavy rain, or ice, can dramatically affect driving conditions and visibility.

weight restriction
Debris on road:

Objects that unexpectedly find their way onto the road can pose immediate threats to safety.

damaged road with a tyre falling in pothole
Damage & potholes:

Road damage and potholes can cause drivers to lose control, especially if they are not visible until it’s too late.

bike icon
Vulnerable road users:

Cyclists, motorcyclists, and micromobility users are especially at risk and may be difficult to see without adequate warning systems in place.

Vulnerable road users

Vulnerable Road Users (VRUs) encompass a wide range of individuals who share the road but do not have the protective enclosure that motor vehicles offer. This group primarily includes cyclists, motorcyclists, and users of micromobility devices such as e-scooters. These road users are particularly at risk for several reasons:

seatbelt icon
1. Lack of physical protection:

Unlike drivers, VRUs do not benefit from safety features such as airbags, seat belts, or the structural frames of cars and trucks. This lack of protection makes them far more susceptible to serious injuries or fatalities in the event of a collision.

eye logo
2. Visibility issues:

VRUs can be harder to notice, especially in poor weather conditions or at night. Their smaller size relative to vehicles can make them less visible to drivers, who may not notice them until it is too late.

van icon
3. Road positioning and behaviour:

VRUs often use parts of the road that are closer to the flow of vehicle traffic. Their proximity to faster-moving vehicles increases their risk of being hit. And their behaviour can be less predictable due to sudden changes in direction or speed, especially with cyclists and micromobility device users.

Mobility safety intelligence

The above vulnerabilities can be addressed using innovative software solutions aimed at enhancing both visibility and safety for vulnerable road users. These platforms leverage technology to connect VRUs with nearby drivers through mobile apps and other digital devices.

Key system features include:

Real-time alerts:

The software uses location-based services to identify the presence of VRUs in relation to nearby vehicles. When the system detects a potential risk, it sends real-time alerts to the driver. This early warning increases the chance for the driver to adjust their driving and avoid an incident.

Visibility enhancement:

By making VRUs visible on drivers’ systems even before they are physically visible, software can help mitigate one of the critical risks VRUs face. It’s particularly beneficial in complex urban environments where sight lines are obstructed by parked vehicles or buildings.

Integration with existing apps:

Intelligent fleet safety software integrates with popular apps and services used by cyclists, e-scooter riders, and other VRUs. This broad integration helps expand the network of visible VRUs, ensuring that a larger number of users benefit from enhanced safety measures.

Customisable interface:

Some software solutions allow the customisation of alerts, enabling users to set preferences for how and when they receive hazard notifications. This improves user engagement with the system, making it more likely that VRUs and drivers will heed the warnings provided.

By improving the detection and communication of the presence of VRUs, software solutions play a crucial role in reducing the risk of collisions and enhancing overall road safety.

Six smart ways to enhance road safety

Software solutions, particularly those using sophisticated technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), are increasingly vital in managing dynamic hazards.

Here’s how these technologies are being applied in modern-day transport operations:

Forward facing cameras:

These cameras help in capturing real-time footage of the road ahead, alerting drivers to upcoming hazards that lie directly in their path.

Rear facing cameras:

Rear-facing cameras offer a clear view of what’s happening behind the vehicle, which is crucial for reversing or in busy traffic.

AI distraction cameras:

AI distraction cameras monitor the driver’s face and detect signs of distraction or fatigue, providing alerts to prevent potential accidents.

cameras - 6 ways they help you take control
In-cab displays

In-cab displays allow drivers to have immediate visual feedback from all camera angles, enhancing their awareness of the surroundings.

Warning signs and audible alerts

Software can generate visual and audible alerts based on real-time data assessment, warning drivers about potential hazards such as approaching vulnerable road users or sudden traffic congestion.

Sensors

Proximity sensors detect nearby objects, whether in front, behind, or beside the vehicle, providing another layer of hazard detection and avoidance.

Flare and Flare Aware

Specifically designed for vulnerable road users, the Flare platform uses mobile apps to make cyclists, and other micromobility users visible to vehicles. The system alerts drivers to the presence of these road users, significantly enhancing their safety.

These technological interventions are not just add-ons but essential tools that integrate seamlessly into the driving experience to create a safer road environment. They help reduce the frequency and severity of accidents and ensure that both drivers and vulnerable road users are protected.

Through continuous innovation and integration of such systems, we can look forward to a future where dynamic hazards are managed more effectively, making our roads safer for everyone. These technologies not only prevent potential accidents but also ensure a smoother and more predictable on-road experience, contributing significantly to road safety.

ASK ABOUT MICROLISE DRIVER HAZARD WARNING SOFTWARE

To get started today, or if you just want to find out more about Driver Hazard Warning systems, contact us or reach out to your account manager for more information.

ASK ABOUT MICROLISE DRIVER HAZARD WARNING SOFTWARE

To get started today, or if you just want to find out more about Driver Hazard Warning systems, contact us or reach out to your account manager for more information.