Motorways can sometimes be dangerous stretches of road, especially during peak traffic times where congestion is a problem – or drivers are anxious to get home fast.
On the other hand, they can also be just as unsafe when hazardous motorists speed, drive recklessly or in some circumstances, even purposely race with other vehicles.
This is why police are often patrolling these areas, and urging drivers to exercise caution when they get behind the wheel.
That said, sometimes risk factors can be lowered by means other than educating motorists about driving safely.
In some cases, the stretch of road itself can be precarious, or contribute to the chances of crashes occurring.
New technology is allowing officials to build safer roads, and to retrofit existing motorways so that they are safer to use.
This is currently the case with the M4 motorway in NSW. An essential part of Sydney’s road network, the M4 is used by over 100,000 commuters and drivers every single day.
Therefore it’s important that it is able to cope with this high traffic demand – the last thing you need is a motorway that cannot support the amount of vehicles travelling along it.
To make sure that it is up to scratch, the federal and NSW governments have invested considerable funding to go towards a retrofit.
Federal infrastructure and transport minister Anthony Albanese and NSW roads minister Duncan Gay announced last week (August 24) that they would each provide $8.5 million to plan for an electronic freeway management system along the M4.
Mr Albanese said that this funding would help make this motorway safer.
“Retrofitting the motorway with this cutting-edge technology would give authorities the tools to better manage traffic flows, respond quickly to accidents, and deliver real time information to motorists so they can plan their journeys and avoid frustrating delays,” he explained.
Meanwhile Mr Gay acknowledged the significant improvement this would bring to thousands of Sydney’s drivers.
“As well as being good for taxpayers, this technology will deliver faster, safer and less frustrating driving conditions for the 115,000 motorists and truck drivers who use this vital part of Sydney’s road network every day,” Mr Gay said.
While this is promising news, it will not take any of the responsibility off motorists – every driver still needs to exercise caution and drive safely.