Virginia makes use of what are called reversible HOV lanes, which are just lanes lined with concrete barriers in which vehicles can travel in either direction depending on the time of day. Lanes are typically synchronized with rush hour, so that the HOV lanes always move in the direction of the greatest traffic flow, switching to the other direction when rush hour changes direction.
However, some people believe that switching directions on a single roadway is confusing for drivers, and can potentially be deadly. Take the case of Norfolk driver Montreal D. Fuller, 29, who accidentally headed onto I-64’s HOV lanes against the flow of traffic. He drove through several barriers and eventually collided with another vehicle, killing himself and the other driver.
In 2008 – the last year for which data is available – there were twelve accidents in the I-64 reversible HOV lanes. And last year, the barrier gates on I-64 that prevent drivers from entering a reversible HOV lane going the wrong direction had to be replaced 72 times because they were struck by an errant driver.
This does not necessarily indicate a problem, claim some experts defending the reversible lanes. Instead, they state that excessive speed and driver inattention are more to blame for accidents than the reversible nature of the HOV lanes.
Some local residents disagree about the safety of these lanes. One example is the I-64 east HOV lanes to I-264, which some motorists feel are poorly designed and required drivers to think fast to get out of the way of the barriers. It’s hard to disagree with the claim of poor design, knowing that barrier gates along I-64 were replaced seventy-two times last year. Perhaps we should all just be glad that there aren’t more traffic accidents along these lanes!