Watching the above video of a TxDot sweeping operation brought back memories of my days as aTxDoT employee and working with a mobile pavement marking crew.
One of my greatest memories of this job is how slow we moved and how fast the public seemed to be driving.
While painting the road, our mobile operations top speed was normally ten miles per hour and sometimes slower. Combine that with highway traffic passing between 55 and 70 miles per hour and you have a recipe for disaster.
When performing these mobile operations we always had a mobile work zone present behind the paint truck. This normally consisted of two large trucks (aka crash trucks) that had crash attenuators attached to their rear ends. In the event of a rear end collision, these attenuator would absorb the impact. (The above pictures shows a crash truck with the crash attenuator attached)
During those two years, there were many close calls, but thankfully I was never involved in an accident where the crash attenuators had to be utilized.
The video below shows a crash attenuator being hit.
You can see by the videos and picture above that this work is done very close to and on the roadway. A moment never went by where in the back of my mind, I thought of how I could be hit by a car.
Coming around a corner I felt the front end of my car begin to slip. Then the rear end started to slide as I tried correct an already unmanageable situation.
Fast forward after all the excitement has ended. My right headlight is busted, wheel is damaged, and there is damage all down the right side of my car. San Antonio Police are now on sight and a wrecker has been called in.
I’m now left with one problem, who is going to pick me up, and how am I going to explain to them where I am?
Once I found a ride I told them the direction I was headed and approximately where I was. After explaining myself a few times, it became obvious that we were going to have to find a new way to “find me”
Google Maps uses the internal GPS of your phone and when you select the ‘Find Me’ function, it shows a very accurate representation of where you are on a map.
Now here is the neatest part about it, once I was able to get my position located, I was then able to share my location with my ride.
Google Maps put a link to my location in a text message, I put in a phone number, and my ride received a link to a map and was able to see where I was on their iPhone.
The process was painless, easy and proved to be very efficient.
Because of the Google Maps Application, my ride found me with minimal effort and we were able to collectively coordinate my pick up location. This helped keep the situation as safe as possible for all the parties involved because of the high speed location. (you can see my ride on the right of the picture)
If you own a smart phone (i.e BlackBerry, iPhone or Android), download the latest Google Map application and play with it. Get to know it. You may find yourself stranded on the side of the road and need a solution to explain your where a bouts!
In case your wondering how the interview went; it went awesome!
If you have ever been in the traffic safety industry, you will know full well how important maintenance is to all of your facilities. By facilities, I mean every area that has a traffic sign, pavement markings or traffic lights.
While I was employed by the City of College Station, one of my primary duties was to maintain all the traffic signs.
We consistently were cutting limbs that were either blocking the view of the sign or would do so in the future. My co-worker and I would joke that we were performing a “two-year” plan.
All of our signs were dated on the back so that we could visually see in the field when it was installed and determine if the sign had to be replaced. This was especially helpful in the older neighborhoods.
Periodically we would work in the evening to visually inspect all of the cities traffic signs and determine by sight if the retroreflectivity was adequate. We would perform this with a vehicles headlights.
The maintenance of the signs was a never ending process, but one which created great satisfaction within me. I knew that I was providing a safe driving environment for the public.
On April 22, 2010, a Notice of Proposed Amendments was published in the Federal Register, proposing to revise the 2009 MUTCD by adding Standards, Guidance, Options, and Support information regarding maintaining minimum retroreflectivity of longitudinal pavement markings. The proposed revisions would establish a uniform minimum level of nighttime pavement marking performance based on the visibility needs of nighttime drivers, to promote safety, enhance traffic operations, and facilitate comfort and convenience for all drivers, including older drivers.
Comments must be received by August 20, 2010. See the Federal Register notice (HTML, PDF 77KB) for details on how to submit comments to the docket, which is numbered FHWA-2009-0139.
The proposed text for Revision 1 of the 2009 MUTCD can be viewed here: (HTML, PDF 155KB)