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Promoting Safer Curves With Sequential Chevrons

April 24, 2020

You’ve likely seen sequential chevrons while driving or riding in a vehicle whether you know what they are or not. These upright or inverted V-shaped symbols on signs guide drivers around curves, since many times there is a lack of visibility on the road ahead. Here are reasons to post a series of these advisory signs to help drivers avoid collisions and dangerous situations.

Chevron Characteristics

There are different types of chevrons, but they usually encompass black arrows on yellow signs. Chevrons are often placed near curves with a half moon shape, an “S” shape, or some other form.

The symbol helps drivers prepare to slow down as they approach the curve. Usually long curves require a series of sequential chevrons, while sharper curves just need one sign. The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) specifies requirements for chevron alignment signs in Section 2C.09.

Dangerous Curves

Statistics show most curve accidents occur on city streets and freeways or rural roads. The famous sixties drag racing song “Deadman’s Curve” by Jan & Dean was about an actual accident site with the same nickname in Los Angeles on West Sunset Boulevard. Near UCLA, it was one of the area’s most winding roads with a 90 degree angle where the fictional accident occurred.

Co-songwriter Jan Berry himself crashed near the site in 1966, a few years after the song was a major national hit. He suffered severe injuries, leaving him incapacitated. The story was portrayed in a made-for-TV film the following decade. Both the song and movie raised awareness about the dangers of driving too fast around curves. “Deadman’s Curve” had already been the site of numerous accidents, including a serious one involving actor Mel Blanc, the voice of the “Bugs Bunny” cartoon. The accident site led to the road being repaved with less of a dangerous angle and today there is a chevron sign there.

Curve Warning Systems

Roads that curve around mountains can be extremely dangerous, even if they contain more than one lane in each direction. Guard rails made of metal offer a degree of protection, but a high velocity vehicle can still fly over the edge. Sequential chevrons help remind drivers of this risk of swerving off the road and to proceed with caution.

Much has changed since the free wheeling drag racing days of the early sixties, as laws have tightened. Technology has also improved driving conditions on dangerous curves, thanks to TraffiCalm, which manufactures electronic curve warning systems with chevron components.

These systems are equipped with solar powered LED lights on the chevrons for both uni-directional and bi-directional sequencing. As many as 160 small flashing lights appear on the signs to catch the attention of drivers. A radar vehicle detector is an optional feature. These components can be installed on existing traditional signs.


Sequential chevrons are modern traffic solutions that warn motorists around potentially high risk curves. Contact Zumar to learn more about these devices and other traffic control systems that promote driver safety.

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