Wake up your ‘tunnel reflex’ with new traffic safety campaign


Too many accidents are happening in tunnels because drivers don’t adequately alter their behaviour

Tunnel vision

Do you have a “tunnel reflex”? Flanders’ Roads and Traffic Agency would like you to and have launched a safety campaign about it.

Some 400 accidents a year happen in tunnels in Flanders – nearly half of them in the region’s six biggest tunnels, including the Kennedy (pictured), Craeybeckx and Liefkenshoek tunnels, all in Antwerp.

Accidents often happen in tunnels because drivers don’t slow down when entering them and drive too closely to the vehicle ahead. “We see that too little distance between vehicles is a major factor in accidents in tunnels,” says Veva Daniels of the Roads and Traffic Agency. “People have a harder time seeing tailbacks in a tunnel, so if you don’t leave yourself enough distance to stop, rear-ending someone is unavoidable.”

Not only is it more difficult for emergency services to get to accidents in tunnels, it also has a greater effect on traffic than most other accidents because the tunnel might have to be closed to traffic. Tunnel infrastructure can also be damaged by accidents, especially those involving lorries.

The tunnel reflex campaign is meant to remind drivers to slow down when entering a tunnel, be extra alert and stay farther away from vehicles that they might otherwise do.

Photo ©Dirk Waem/BELGA