Factors affecting Sight distance
The most important consideration in all these is that at all times the driver traveling at the design speed of the highway must have sufficient carriageway distance within his line of vision to allow him to stop his vehicle before colliding with a slowly moving or stationary object appearing suddenly in his own traffic lane.
The computation of sight distance depends on:
Reaction time of the driver
Reaction time of a driver is the time taken from the instant the object is visible to the driver to the instant when the brakes are applied. The total reaction time may be split up into four components based on PIEV theory. In practice, all these times are usually combined into a total perception-reaction time suitable for design purposes as well as for easy measurement. Many of the studies show that drivers require about 1.5 to 2 secs under normal conditions. However, taking into consideration the variability of driver characteristics, a higher value is normally used in design. For example, IRC suggests a reaction time of 2.5 secs.
Speed of the vehicle
The speed of the vehicle very much affects the sight distance. Higher the speed, more time will be required to stop the vehicle. Hence it is evident that, as the speed increases, sight distance also increases.
Efficiency of brakes
The efficiency of the brakes depends upon the age of the vehicle, vehicle characteristics etc. If the brake efficiency is 100%, the vehicle will stop the moment the brakes are applied. But practically, it is not possible to achieve 100% brake efficiency. Therefore the sight distance required will be more when the efficiency of brakes are less. Also for safe geometric design, we assume that the vehicles have only 50% brake efficiency.
Frictional resistance between the tyre and the road
The frictional resistance between the tyre and road plays an important role to bring the vehicle to stop. When the frictional resistance is more, the vehicles stop immediately. Thus sight required will be less. No separate provision for brake efficiency is provided while computing the sight distance. This is taken into account along with the factor of longitudinal friction. IRC has specified the value of longitudinal friction in between 0.35 to 0.4.
Gradient of the road.
Gradient of the road also affects the sight distance. While climbing up a gradient, the vehicle can stop immediately. Therefore sight distance required is less. While descending a gradient, gravity also comes into action and more time will be required to stop the vehicle. Sight distance required will be more in this case.