Have you driven down the highway and noticed the vehicle in front of you swerving in and out of their lane?

This occurrence is more common than you may think, and Vision Zero is taking steps to make our roadways safer.

Lane departure is when a driver may unknowingly swerve out of their lane and can often be fatal.

In fact, lane departure is the leading cause of fatal crashes in North Dakota, accounting for 59% of the 86 traffic fatalities in 2021.

They may not come at the time of year that you’d expect.

Lauren Bjork from the North Dakota Department of Transportation said, “Surprisingly more people are traveling during those warm-weather months, and we see higher fatality numbers during May to October.”

Lane departures can be caused by drowsy driving, distracted driving and driving under the influence.

An astounding number of these drivers were not using their seatbelts.

“Nearly 60 percent of our fatalities in 2021 were also unbelted at the time of the crash,” said Bjork.

Now, safety measures are being implemented across the state to help minimize the risk of a deadly accident.

Some of these measures include rumble strips and high tension cable wires in the median of the highway.

Something as simple as these rumble strips to my left may help drivers who are a little too distracted or pretty drowsy.

Other measures being implemented are especially useful when driving through the badlands and the steep cliffs that are right off the roadways.

Justin Schlosser, traffic operations engineer with the NDDOT, said, “On curves, we’ve been adding chevrons, which are the big yellow signs with the arrows on them to show people when they are entering a horizontal curve.”

These safety measures have a proven track record of keeping motorists safe in the event of a crash.

“Other reports and analysis that are done by technical experts that show that the delineators and high tension median cable guard rail do reduce the crash fatalities and the serious injuries in crashes also,” said Schlosser.

As stated in the name, Vision Zero’s goal is to bring that number down to zero.