School of Architecture and Civil Engineering

A contribution to complexity at intersections within built-up areas - road safety for children, seniors and people with mobility impairments.


In Germany there are 1,800 traffic warnings of wrong-way drivers on motorways per year. These traffic warnings are not to be questioned basically. On account of a comparison with police information from two years it is further assumed that about 25-50 % of cases are definitely or very likely wrong-way driving events. The Portion of driving backward lay in this investigation extent for the traffic warnings at less than 1 percent.

The traffic warnings of wrong-way drivers on motorways do not spread evenly in the road network. Accumulation areas can be found. Moreover, they are set down particularly in times of weaker traffic demand and especially on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.

Yearly there come another about 150 wrong-way driving events and tips to wrong-way driving events from the police knowledge to which no traffic warnings can be assigned. Therefore, an average annual amount is estimated at a total of about 1,950 events in connection with wrong-way driving on motorways (traffic warnings plus other wrong-way driving events and tips to wrong-way driving events from police knowledge).

The motivations and attendant circumstances which lead to wrong-way driving events are varied. Main focuses can be found in connection with consumption of alcohol and orientation problems of the drivers.

Accidents as a result of wrong-way driving on motorways are rare events. In all accidents on motorways they take a middle portion of about 0.05 %, in accidents with personal damage there are on average about 0.2 %. Approximately 75-80 accidents can be expected yearly as a result of wrong-way driving on motorways in Germany which are spread randomly in the road network.

The consequences of an accident resulting from wrong-way driving are relatively serious. Possibly every second accident leads to personal damages, in almost every sixth accident persons are killed.

The wrong ascend at interchanges and turns on carriageways and are the two most noticeable failures of ascertained wrong-way drivers.

Within the scope of preliminary investigations at interchanges some significant deficiencies in the field of signs and markings were found.

Nevertheless, a causal connection between these deficiencies and the encouragement of wrong-way driving could not be proved within the scope of this investigation. These deficits still seem suitable to be able to favour in particular cases the origin of an unconsciously carried out wrong-way driving event (e.g., by inadvertent wrong bending in the exit ramp).

Hence, continuous controls are recommended possibly within the scope of the required road safety programs. As concrete traffic engineering measures are recommended such measures that “induce” the road users intuitively and unconsciously to a right driving.

In general, however, the elimination of a design-related or structural deficit which may affect the emergence of wrong-way driving should be given the preference to other, supposedly less expensive measures with signs or markings. Thereby, the current guidelines for the design of roads are to be followed.

In order to prevent wrong-way driving in the future even more effectively, contributions from other disciplines are also required, e. g., from the field of car-to-x-communication, driving aptitude et cetera.

However, it must become conscious that wrong-way driving can never be prevented completely. In particular, deliberately wrong actions of the motorists, e.g., the intentionally wrong ascend at interchanges or deliberate turns on carriageways, cannot be excluded with the help of street-sided or vehicle-sided measures totally.

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