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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation
FHWA Highway Safety Programs

Proven Countermeasures

There are many flexible, cost-effective countermeasures that are proven to reduce rural roadway departure (aka lane departure) crashes. They can be installed in various situations and on many types of roadways. Countermeasures can be used individually or in combination.

3 ways to prevent rural roadway departure deaths

FoRRRwD has three objectives for reducing the number or severity of rural lane departures – keep vehicles in the lane, reduce the potential for crashes if vehicles do leave their lane, and minimize severity if a crash does happen. There are specific countermeasures that apply to each objective.

Keep vehicles in their lane

Photo of rumble strips along yellow striping on roadway.

Improve curve delineation

Friction treatments in curves and other spot locations

Edge line, shoulder & center line rumble strips

Reduce the potential for crashes

Photo of cleared area of trees and brush along side of road where the road curves.


Maintained clear zones

Traversable roadside slopes

Minimize crash severity

Photo of barriers installed along side of road which would keep vehicles from leaving the roadway.

Breakaway Features

  • Signs & Luminaire Supports
  • Utility Poles

Barriers to Shield Obstacles

  • Trees and Shrubbery
  • Other Fixed Objects
  • Slopes


Read more about using the 3 objectives to reduce roadway departures

Explore the Other Pillars of FoRRRwD

FoRRRwD is supported by four pillars that work together to reduce rural roadway departures on all roads. Click a pillar below to learn more.


Roadway departure crashes are a major problem on all public rural roads. More than 40 percent of them happen off State networks.

Read more about All Public Roads »


There are many flexible cost-effective countermeasures that are proven to reduce these crashes.


A fundamental challenge on rural roads is that roadway departure crash locations are random and change from year to year.

Read more about the Systemic Approach »


Documenting the systemic analysis into a simple safety action plan is a powerful way to prioritize safety improvements.

Read more about the Safety Action Plans »