A row of traffic cones guide drivers through the work zone during a resurfacing project.

Optimal AFAD Placement

Automated flagger assistance devices (AFADs) make directing traffic easier and safer for everyone involved. One AFAD can guide a single lane of approaching traffic away from work zone hazards and construction workers.

The road crew controls AFADs from a safe distance, leaving plenty of room between themselves and oncoming traffic. Moving vehicles also have better visibility with flaggers and signs in this form of traffic control.

You can use AFADs for short-term road construction projects like guardrail repair, pavement patching, and bridge work.

Where should you place AFADs?

Learn more about optimal AFAD placement. You should always check MUTCD and state guidelines before you begin a road project.

Planning Your Work Zone  

Each AFAD must be operated by a single flagger. You may place one AFAD at each end of the temporary traffic control zone, or you may place an AFAD at one end with a flagger at the other end. In certain circumstances, one flagger can work two AFADs. One flagger can operate two AFADs only if the flagger can clearly see the AFADs and lanes of traffic. 

When planning your temporary traffic control zone, you’ll want to think about other forms of traffic control or redirection you’ll be using. For example, if you have any tapers in your work zone, AFADs should be placed before these transitions begin.

Road Construction Safety Tips for Drivers

Quality traffic control does not begin and end with AFADs. Signs give drivers tips to prepare for what comes next. Do they need to move into a different lane? Should they be ready to stop? You should have advanced warning signs to let drivers know what to expect when there is a work zone ahead.

When you use a traffic flagger or traffic control services, you need to have specific signs that tell drivers the flow of traffic has changed. You should include the following signs:

  • Road Work Ahead (W20-1)
  • One Lane Road (W20-4)
  • Be Prepared to Stop (W3-4)

Cover or remove these signs when you’re not using an AFAD or flagger in the work zone.

Road Placement

Before you set up your AFADs, you should analyze the location of your work zone. Are there any hills or curves nearby? Is there anything that would impede drivers’ ability to see the AFADs? The location of the work zone may influence where you place your AFADs. You’ll need to place the AFADs so that they give drivers plenty of time to react.

AFADs should be placed on the shoulder of the road if possible. They shouldn’t invade the travel lane unless they are extremely visible to drivers from a distance. If your AFAD type has a gate arm, the arm cannot extend into the adjacent lane. In cities or urban areas, you may place AFADs on the curb if there is no shoulder.


The distance AFADs can be placed from each other can make a big difference in how you plan your work zone. According to MUTCD, the maximum distance between two AFADs should be 1,500 feet. However, MUTCD leaves this guideline open for states to make the call.

AFADs can be operated well over the 1,500-foot mark. Studies have proven AFADs can be used successfully with much more distance between them. You’ll want to check your state guidelines to see how much distance you can put between AFADs.

Are you ready to start using AFADs?

IntelliStrobe Safety Systems offer durable, cutting-edge Red/Yellow AFADs. Read our Guide to AFADs or contact us today to learn more about implementing AFADs into your work zone. 

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