Faced with truck drivers not heeding warnings when their tractor trailers were too tall to enter the Sydney Harbour Tunnel, officials turned to a company called Laservision to put an end to these costly crashes that were not only closing the tunnel for weeks at a time, but also put other drivers on the road in considerable danger.

Developed and implemented back in 2011, Laservision's Softstop system projects a familiar bright red stop sign, seemingly in mid-air, at the tunnel's entrance if a vehicle too large to enter is detected. In fact, the stop sign does not float in mid-air, but rather is projected onto a water screen that, should a vehicle not heed its command, would cause no damage from being driven through.

The Softstop water stop sign is a last resort, mind you. If a driver's truck is tall enough that it would crash into the tunnel were it to enter, a number of brightly flashing warning signs are activated that signal the driver to stop earlier. Only if those flashing signs are ignored is the Softstop system activated at the tunnel's entrance. Likewise, the Softstop system can be activated for other reasons, including keeping drivers out for their own protection if there's a fire or other disaster inside the tunnel.

Though we admit to chuckling at the occasional truck-crashes-into-low-overpass video (11foot8.com is a whole website devoted to vehicles crashing into a low railroad trestle in Durham, NC), this clever solution for preventing such accidents is even more interesting to watch in action.


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  • 31 Comments
      canuckcharlie
      • 1 Year Ago
      Free car wash?
      56Jalopy
      • 1 Year Ago
      I have driven many overheigt loads, with a permit, and never hit a low bridge. There are many devices that warn you that you are overheight. From flashing lights, NC, to a string of chains hanging across the road, Louisiana. If you rattle that chain you had better stop. It is low tech but works every time even in a power failure .
      T-Mille
      • 1 Year Ago
      Why are truck drivers ignoring every sign?
        • 1 Year Ago
        @T-Mille
        [blocked]
      DRAGON
      • 1 Year Ago
      This is actually brilliant!
      Bruce Lee
      • 1 Year Ago
      Fine the crap out of these idiots and strip their licenses.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      mbukukanyau
      • 1 Year Ago
      Sad, Ausies driving imports.
        David
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mbukukanyau
        What's sad is the average price of a new car after taxes in Australia.
      SloopJohnB
      • 1 Year Ago
      Just. Shoot. Them. Put heads on pikes. Motivates the rest.
      breakfastburrito
      • 1 Year Ago
      A lady told me my semi was too big for her tunnel, but I failed to stop until she turned on the waterworks.
      Robt
      • 1 Year Ago
      A low-tech gantry at the same height as the tunnel ceiling, placed thirty yards before the entrance would be just as good. Must admit though, that the laser sign looks cool.
        Kumar
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Robt
        I don't think I can stop my car in 30 yards at highway speeds when standing on the brakes. Let's at a zero to that
      Dvanos
      • 1 Year Ago
      Wow this video just shows how much our highway infrastructure lags behind other countries.
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