Quantifying the Relationship Between Skid Resistance and Wet Weather Accidents for Virginia Data

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Virginia Tech


One of the factors contributing to motor vehicle crashes is lack of sufficient friction at the tire-pavement interface. Although the relationship between surface friction and roadway safety has long been recognized, attempts to quantify the effect of pavement skid resistance on wet accident rates have produced inconsistent results. This thesis analyzes the relationships between skid resistance, accident, and traffic data for the state of Virginia. The correlation between wet skid resistance measured with a locked-wheel trailer using a smooth tire and wet accident rates is examined. Additionally, the influence of traffic volumes on accident rates is considered.

The research used accident and skid data from the Virginia wet accident reduction program as well as from sections without pre-identified accident or skid problems. The wet accident data was aggregated in 1.6 km (1 mi) sections and divided by the annual traffic to obtain wet accident rates. The minimum skid number measured on each of these sections was then obtained and added to the database.

Regression analyses indicated that there is statistically significant effect of skid resistance on wet accident rate; the wet accident rate increases with decreasing skid numbers. However, as expected, skid resistance alone does a poor job of modeling the variability in the wet accident rates. In addition, the wet accident rate also decreases with increasing traffic volume. Based on the data studied, a target skid number (SN(64)S) of 25 to 30 appears to be justified.



skid resistance, skid number, wet weather accidents