We drive over them, alongside them, behind them, and we obey them. Surface stripes and pavement markings serve a very important purpose in traffic and road systems, and play a major role in the organization, functionality, and safety of drivers and pedestrians. But many drivers are unsure about the different colors, applications, and meanings behind the most common pavement stripes and markings. It is important to know this information so you can be safer on the road. To improve your driving acumen and security, continue reading to learn about pavement stripes and marks.
Road Stripes and Markings
Road surface markings and striping is any material or device used to assist or convey official information to motorists and pedestrians. They are either mechanical, non-mechanical, or temporary, and used in several applications, including parking lots, roads, highways, toll booths, school zones, pedestrian crossings, and more. And today, there are new innovative technologies available for road marking systems, such as retro-reflectivity, that lasts longer and costs less to apply. So we can count on reliable traffic and pedestrian surface markings for years to come. Below is a review of some common road markers, and the purpose they serve.
Botts’ Dots – A type of mechanical non-reflective marker that is raised off the ground in the form of small mounds, or “dots.” They are used to indicate the edges of traffic lanes and are commonly used in combination with raised reflective markers. Botts’ dots are also used to alert motorists of highway toll booths, school lanes, and speed limit reductions. Since they are easily damaged by snow plows, they are usually used in areas with warmer climates.
Rumble Strips – If you have ever accidentally veered off the road, then you have probably experienced driving over rumble strips. They are repetitive troughs carved into the pavement (generally 1 cm deep and 10 cm wide) on the edges of roads to alert or awake drivers that are falling asleep or not paying attention. When you drive on rumble strips, your vehicle shakes and vibrates as it moves over the deep ridges.
Raised Reflective Markers – Also called road studs, these markers are reflective, making them more visible at night and in poor weather. They are raised off the ground, usually in the form of dots or small squares, and used as travel lane dividers, median markers, exit slip-road markers.
Paint – The most common form of non-mechanical road markers is paint, sometimes containing retroreflective glass beads. The primary colors of road paint depend largely on locality, but generally include white, yellow, red, blue, and orange. Paint markers are used for a wide variety of purposes in terms of road systems and pavement, including driving lanes, parking lots, handicap parking, no-parking zones, time-restricted parking, loading zones, and much more.
Yellow Lines – Yellow lines are used to mark the center of two-way streets that have two-way traffic lanes. If the center yellow lines are dashes instead of solid lines, you can pass on a two-way street with two-way traffic. However, if they are solid, you cannot. So this means you cannot drive to the left of these lines.
White Lines – White lines are applied in the center and on the shoulder of a two-lane road to advise traffic traveling in your direction. If the lines are solid, you cannot legally pass on the road. If they are broken up into dashes, you can legally pass other vehicles if the way is clear.