Have you ever heard of rumble strips? No, they aren't a new form of a dental strip that whitens your teeth instantly by rumbling the discoloration off of them, as exciting as that might sound. In the simplest terms, rumble strips are raised strips along a road or the side of a road that warn you of upcoming toll booths, construction zones, and speed changes or let you know if you are drifting off the road, among other purposes. They are in fact a fairly common roadway safety feature designed for the express purpose of increasing driver awareness.
Over the years, they've been effective in this task, and there is plenty of research to justify their use. But before we explore rumble strips in particular, let's start by discussing the physical characteristics of the roadway, something you surely think about every day.
Close Your Eyes and Imagine a Perfectly Smooth, Blank Road
There, can you see it? This road is nothing but asphalt, with no raised pavement markers, no rumble strips, and no lane markings to indicate where you should be and when. For those who appreciate total simplicity this might seem like a dream come true, but for any experienced driver, the idea is a nightmare.
Roads aren't meant to be completely smooth, textureless, instruction-free surfaces. If they were, they'd be significantly more dangerous and significantly less driver-friendly. The whole purpose of traffic safety is to convey information to drivers in a way that makes them safer on the road — but this information isn't exclusively visual. In the case of rumble strips, the idea is to get across something the driver can feel. The sensation of driving over rumble strips is distinct and immediately makes drivers pay attention to what they are doing.
Picking Up Good Vibrations
While the feeling of driving over rumble strips might not be the most pleasant, the good that they accomplish makes it all worth it. Research has demonstrated that rumble strips are effective in making construction zones safer for workers, saving lives, and reducing the number of injuries caused by drivers who are speeding, not paying attention, or following other drivers too closely.
By working with an experienced company like Traffic Safety, construction companies can find smart ways of integrating rumble strips to make their work zones less hazardous. And by increasing driver awareness at critical times, rumble strips make our roads safer for drivers as well. In short, they are a simple, inexpensive traffic safety solution that makes everyone a little safer. And really, that's the best kind.