Road repair companies activate the cones just before starting work. / DGT

Spain trials high-tech traffic cones to help prevent accidents

The new smart cones look just like conventional ones but are connected so they give warnings of road works in real time and have flashing lights to alert drivers

ENRIQUE MIRANDA MALAGA.

Road works are necessary everywhere at times but they can be dangerous for drivers if not well signposted. Last year 158 of the traffic accidents in Spain were associated with maintenance and conservation works on the highways, and two workers were killed. To reduce the risks, Spain's Directorate-General for Traffic (DGT) has now designed new high-tech devices to provide more warning of road works ahead: they are called smart cones.

These appear to be traffic cones like any others, but they are GPS geo-located and have flashing lights. The DGT says they prevent accidents by giving warnings in real time and ahead of works which are being carried out. Once a company activates them and starts to carry out the road works the DGT’s traffic management centre is alerted and sends messages to the information panels above the roads and to connected vehicles.

Monitoring campaig

Details of these smart cones were given on Monday, the day the DGT’s new highway surveillance campaign began. Until the end of this month, officials will be monitoring areas where road works are being carried out, to see how much notice drivers take of the signs and to reduce risks, such as speeding in those areas, inappropriate lane changes and distractions