"painting dots on the roadway to advise drivers about safe spacing can reduce the number of rear-end collisions" - Pennsylvania Tests Roadway Dots to Reduce Crashes
The idea is simple: Take a relatively vague concept - the 2-second rule, which states that drivers should stay at least 2 seconds behind the vehicle in front of them - and give it a visual reference.
By DAN LEWERENZ, Associated Press Writer
JULIAN, Pa. - Introducing the latest innovation from the state that brought you the line and the bump: The commonwealth of Pennsylvania gives you the dot.
Engineers at the state Department of Transportation have found that painting dots on the roadway to advise drivers about safe spacing can reduce the number of rear-end collisions. The agency has seen signs of success where it tested the program.
"This is still, for the most part, a pilot program," said Rich Kirkpatrick, a spokesman for the state transportation department. "We're still studying the details and hope to get to the point where we set the specific criteria and take the program statewide."
Signs warns motorists to beware of aggressive drivers and to keep two dots between them and other cars. The dots, which are actually oval in shape, measure 7 1/2 feet-by-2 1/2 feet on two-lane highways, 12 feet-by-4 feet on interstates. They are spaced 115 feet apart, giving drivers an easy way to measure their safe driving distances.
The idea came from Europe, where Pennsylvania's transportation engineers noticed chevrons painted on the highway for the same purpose. The engineers returned home and identified stretches of road that had a history of trouble with aggressive drivers and rear-end collisions.
So far, five pilot locations have been established across the state, and a sixth is scheduled to be painted with dots in the coming months.
The Federal Highway Administration has no records of any states with programs like Pennsylvania's. Kirkpatrick said a handful of other state transportation departments have asked for information, but he didn't know of any that has adopted the program.
"It's a good idea if someone is riding you," said Joe Price, of Tipton, who often drives over the dots on U.S. Route 220 in Centre County. "Especially on a road that's as dangerous as this. Because it's not even the road that's dangerous, it's the morons who are driving out there. Sometimes you'll be two dots apart, and someone will pass you and try to slide inside."
So far, the program has been a success. On Route 11, where the program was first tried, the state transportation department reported a 60 percent reduction in rear-end collisions in the six months after the dots were first painted in October 2000. A year later, the Federal Highway Administration awarded the agency a National Highway Safety Award for the program, citing its low cost and effectiveness.
Martin Pietrucha, associate professor of civil engineering at Penn State and a research associate at the university's Pennsylvania Transportation Institute, also is a fan, although he said he'd like to see crash statistics evaluated over a longer period.
And while rear-end accidents might be the easiest measure of success, encouraging drivers to maintain a safe distance can have other benefits, as well.
"Following distance does not reduce rear-end accidents only," Pietrucha said. "The farther you are behind somebody, the better you are in terms of your entire view of the road and anticipating problems."
In a way, it's no surprise that Pennsylvania was the first to develop such a measure. Newton Moore, widely credited with conceiving the idea of a center line to divide roads, was a Bucknell University student, and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation was the first state agency to install rumble-strips along the center line to keep drivers from drifting into oncoming traffic.
"Given the challenge we have of trying to maintain as safe an environment as possible on our highways, the folks in our safety areas are just constantly trying to come up with whatever innovations they can ... for ensuring the safety of themselves and others," Kirkpatrick said.
интересно, что американцы "не погнушались" заимствовать что-то французское, в такой "тяжёлый для родины час"... в статье говорится про европу, но, на самом деле, нигде, кроме франции, мы такой разметки не видели (например, такой системы нет в голландии, или я уж совсем слепой стал)
во франции разметка сопровождается ещё и указательными щитами вдоль дорог, зелёного, по-моему цвета (а не стандартного синего), на которых написано что-то вроде "две полоски - это хорошо, а одна - уже на грани фола" - чуть ли не этот знак там и виднеется, в правом верхнем углу.
мы, кстати, едем не вполне безопасно.