Few mistakes are more terrifying than turning on to a motorway in the wrong direction.

To help prevent this from happening, Ford has introduced Wrong Way Alert technology which will debut with the all-new Focus.

Wrong Way Alert builds on Ford’s existing Traffic Sign Recognition technology, that uses GPS information to identify a car’s location and a forward-facing, windscreen-mounted camera to detect important signs such as speed limits — and displays them to the driver on the dashboard or Head-up display.

In situations where a driver passes two “no entry” signs on either side of a slip road on to a motorway or dual carriageway, the system sounds a warning and displays a red “no entry” symbol as well as a message to “check driving direction”.

Ford has tested the technology, which will be initially available to customers in Austria, Germany and Switzerland, on the company’s test track in Lommel, Belgium, using “no entry” signs erected on the slip roads.

To test a wider variety of junctions, the system’s camera was mounted in front of a computer monitor that displayed a virtual driving environment created using real-world GPS data.

Ford says wrong-way crashes are likely to result in serious injuries and fatalities because the speeds of both cars are combined on impact.

In 2017, in Germany alone, 22 people were killed in accidents involving wrong-way drivers on motorways and federal highways.

“These accidents can be devastating. Drivers who are tired, confused by poor road signs, or driving in bad weather can take the wrong turn, only to find they have put themselves and other people on the motorway in real danger,” said Jan Guesten, development engineer, Driver Assistance Technologies, Ford of Europe.

See the technology in action

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Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.