Aerodynamic Effects on Two-Lane Rural Highway Safety

Two-lane rural highways experience a higher rate of traffic accidents than do other types of highways. One factor affecting this rate is the impact of aerodynamics on a vehicle’s stability and safety during crossing and overtaking maneuvers, especially under adverse environmental conditions such as crosswinds. This study investigated this phenomenon by using three-dimensional, unsteady computation fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations, with validation from wind tunnel experiments. The forces and moments acting on the vehicles were analyzed, and experiments showed that the forces acting on a vehicle may increase by up to 9 times, with the maximum increase associated with a size discrepancy between the vehicles. The presence of crosswinds increased the variations in fluctuations of forces and moments. To evaluate existing highway policies, additional parametric studies are needed to fully investigate the impacts of different crosswind speeds and directions, as well as different lateral distances between vehicles during crossing and overtaking maneuvers.

  • Record URL:
  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This research was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation, University Transportation Centers Program.
  • Corporate Authors:

    University of Idaho, Moscow

    Department of Mechanical Engineering
    Moscow, ID  United States  83844-0902

    Pacific Northwest Transportation Consortium

    University of Washington
    More Hall Room 112
    Seattle, WA  United States  98195-2700

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Authors:
    • Hammad, Ahmad A A
    • Xing, Tao
  • Publication Date: 2017-8-14


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Edition: Final Report
  • Features: Figures; Photos; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 88p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01708087
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 2015-S-UI-95
  • Contract Numbers: DTRT13-G-UTC40
  • Created Date: Jun 7 2019 9:34AM