In Case You've Wondered

My blog is where my wandering thoughts are interspersed with stuff I made up. So, if while reading you find yourself confused about the context, don't feel alone. I get confused, too.

If you're here for the stories, I started another blog:

One other thing: sometimes I write words you refuse to use in front of children, or polite company, unless you have a flat tire, or hit your thumb with a hammer.

I don't use them to offend; I use them to embellish.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Highway Stripes

Most people don't know what highway stripes signify. That,and the distance between stripes

The stripes are 10 feet long, and forty feet from nose of stripe, to nose of stripe. Otherwise, there's thirty feet between each stripe.

Years ago, stripes were painted on the pavement. For decades, a thermoplastic is used instead. The plastic arrives in bags, is heated in pots, and sprayed like paint on the pavement. As the plastic is sprayed, glass beads are sprinkled on top to add reflectivity at night. Without it, the stripes are hardly seen, and water on the paving almost completely obscures.

Stripes have different colors, but for highway markings, they are yellow and white. White designates the lanes in one direction, and yellow is used to signify the boundary between opposing traffic lanes.

Broken lines are used to indicate lanes. On a highway with only two way traffic, these stripes are yellow, since traffic flows both ways. On highways with multiple lanes, the broken lines are white.

Solid lines indicate the driver is to keep inside their lane and not cross the line. On highways with two lanes, and opposing traffic, the line on the right will be a solid white, and the line between opposing traffic will be solid yellow. In curves, a broken yellow line will have a solid yellow line adjacent to signify which lane of traffic is not to pass slower traffic. If it's on the side you're driving on, it indicates you are prohibited to pass, and the line will remain, until there's enough sight distance to pass safely. If there are two solid lines, crossing the center line is prohibited for both lanes of traffic.

On multiple lane highways, the right line is solid white, except where it follows the right side of an exit ramp. Beyond the ramp, the white line continues. Entrance ramps will have a safety "island" of diagonal stripes before the break at the entrance. The merging lane white line eventually ties into the white line in the outside travel lane.

A yellow solid line is found on the left side of the inside lane of multiple lane highways. Even if there's a large grass median, the yellow line is painted to signify the demarcation of opposing lanes of traffic.

Solid lines come in different widths. The typical four inch solid line indicates travel across the line is cautioned and only for a specific purpose. Roads with continuous center turn lanes have these. Travel is allowed, but only with caution, and the lane is never to be treated as a travel lane. Drivers are expected to only use the lane for acceleration, and deceleration, when traffic allows. These line are left out at intersections and driveways.

Eight inch wide sold lines are never to be crossed. These are found at entrances, and exits, to signify the traffic in the other lane has the right of way, and dangerous conditions are presented if a driver crosses the line. When the eight inch line is broken, it signifies a combination entrance/exit ramp, and drivers are to be extra cautions when crossing the line to exit, or merge.

Between the stripes, or on solid lines, raised reflective markers are placed to help mark the pavement at night, or in low light conditions, such as during a heavy rain. On two lane roads, the center of the lanes will have reflectors that show amber both ways. On multiple lane highways, the center line markers are white toward facing traffic, and red on the opposite side. Otherwise, if you you're driving, and see red reflective markers ahead, you're driving against traffic. An occasional blue marker indicates a fire hydrant is at that location.

If you got this far in this post, you're interested, and will notice such things as you drive. When you understand the basic rules for stripes, you begin to notice those that are worn, or missing reflective markers, which can be found scattered on the shoulder.

Whether interested, or not, the stripes on the highway are regulation markings. Failing to observe what they indicate can lead to traffic fines, or worse, a head-on collision on a rural highway, late at night.

One other thing: Years ago, an old TxDot worker asked me which lane I drove in, when going over an overpass on an empty highway late at night. I answered it depended, and he cautioned to always stay in the right lane. He further explained that someone driving the wrong direction will have a tendency to try and stay in what they think is the right lane. By staying in the right lane, the odds are they'll pass you, and you'll have another head-shaking moment to add to your list.

1 comment:

  1. This is a very useful post, except for, as you know, the people who really need to read it will not. Cheers!