Traffic Stripes Brighten Up!

A research study by North Carolina State University has shown that the stripes dividing our nation's roadways are brighter when they are applied in the same direction that traffic moves. Usually the twin center lines dividing opposing traffic lanes are painted at the same time, making them more visible from one direction than from the other. The glass beads that are mixed in with the paint get a thin layer of paint over on one side, yet remain clean on the other side. These reflective beads are most effective on the clean side, which depends on the direction the truck was moving when the paint was applied.

Using a device called a retroreflect-o-meter, the researchers discovered that the difference in the reflective values of painted lines painted in the proper direction was great enough that they could sometimes last an whole year longer than if they were painted in the opposite direction. Unbelievable!

These findings show that the government could save a lot of money if they take the extra step of ensuring that the lines are painted in the correct direction. In addition, safety would be improved since the lines would be more clearly visible at night. Other more expensive alternatives are adhesive tapes with glass beads embedded in the proper direction. And I thought beads were just to doll-up the girls!

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