Road markings are materials or devices which are drawn or attached to a road surface to deliver particular information to motorists and pedestrians alike. These markings can also be found in private facilities such as parking spaces and other specific areas designed for different purposes.
The presence and uniformity of the road markings are highly important in maintaining order among roads and other areas with traffic. In general, these road markings either separate traffic lanes, generate noise when being run over by motorists, waking up drivers that are dosing, and convey information to motorists on what they should do as they drive along the road.
Basically, road markings are classified into three categories – temporary, the non-mechanical, and the mechanical ones.
Mechanical markers are devices which are fixed on road surfaces then raise and recess when being run over. Some are fixed permanently while others are movable. Such markings can either be non-reflective or reflective such as center lane delineators. Some examples of these mechanical markers include the Cat’s Eye, Bott’s Dots, and Rumble Strips.
Non-mechanical markers on the other hand refer to the materials used in road markings and drawings. These include paint, thermoplastic, preformed thermoplastic, preformed polymer, epoxy, and many others.
Temporary markers include removable tapes which can be laid upon the road to shift road markings. Black removable tapes can be used to temporarily hide existing markings, and white tapes can be used to mark new ones.
Road markings also vary country by country. In the UK, the rules on road markings are stipulated at the Highway Code issued by the Ministry of Transport. Some examples of prominent road markings are a broken white line following the traveling direction. If the gaps between the painted white lines are longer than the lines, it means the road is free from hazards.
It could mean no sharp bends or no turnings ahead. If these gaps are shorter than the lines drawn, it means hazards are coming your way. The greater the number of white lines drawn means the greater chances of upcoming hazards you may encounter.
A double solid line, on the other hand, means that the line should not be crossed which disallows overtaking for that stretch. In certain conditions these solid lines as road markings can be crossed if the vehicle is stationary, a pedal cycle, a horse carriage traveling at 10mph or less, when entering a compound, or as a police officer directs you to.
Other road markings include solid white lines which indicate the external edges of the road. A double yellow line, as it sets next to the kerb, means parking is prohibited at any given time. A single yellow line indicates that parking may be allowed at some point in time. Double and single red lines tell you that stopping is not permitted at all times.
How well do you know your road markings? There are more than likely going to be rules of the road that some drivers either don’t abide by or ignore which is why it’s important to watch other cars on the road as they may deviate from what the road markings say they should do.
Featured images Creative Commons. Sources : https://www.flickr.com/photos/wikidave/ and https://www.flickr.com/photos/kesara_rathnayake/. Article courtesy of Ennis-Flint, the global leaders in road traffic safety markings.