SDDOT’s $1.6 million High Friction Surface Treatment (HFST) project is the first demonstration in the country of how the technology of a HFST, which had only been intended to reduce crashes in wet road conditions, is being used in an innovative way to reduce road departure crashes with winter road conditions as a contributing factor. The department utilized the treatment at 15 locations in the Black Hills area of South Dakota. These locations were identified based on an over-representation of road departure injury crashes with winter road conditions as a contributing factor. Road departure crashes account for 57% of all fatal and serious injury crashes in South Dakota. One third of these crashes occur in horizontal curves even though horizontal curves account for less than 10% of the system.
These 15 sites averaged a total of 21 winter road condition crashes including 7 injury/fatal crashes per year for the five years prior to this project. Through one winter season, there was a total of one crash and zero injuries— a huge win for safety. Additionally, the use of the treatment is anticipated to save $88 million in societal crash costs.