When you are behind the wheel, heading to a destination, more often than not, you probably don’t notice a great deal concerning the structure and design the roadway. Unless it is under construction and there are lane closures and traffic backups. Nonetheless, there are many safety features that may be built into the design of the roads and bridges you travel on daily.
One feature that you may pay little attention to is the rumble strips that are literally built into the road surface on many highways. The alternating indentations generate a loud rumbling noise when your tire crosses over one of them. This noise is intentionally disturbing, as they are there to alert or wake up drivers when they may drift out of their lane.
And they really work. A study of the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) rumble strip program, which was begun in 2008 and has added 1,700 miles of rumble strips to shoulders and 5,700 miles to centerlines of highways throughout the state, found substantial reductions in crashes to these roads.
Best of all, the addition of these rumble strips was very cost effective for taxpayer, with the study finding benefit-to-cost ratios of 58:1 and 18:1. The rumble strips produced a 51 percent reduction in fatal crashes.
What this means in concrete terms is there were 16 fewer fatal crashes and it reduced crashes with severe injuries by 62 each year. For those people saved, the benefits of the rumble strips are incalculable.
And if you find yourself nodding off and crossing rumble strips too often, consider getting more sleep, as drowsy driving is a dangerous as drunk driver.
Source: upmatters.com, “Study shows rumble strips save lives,” Kylie Khan, June 1, 2015