There's no magic bullet when it comes to road safety, but road marking is one of the best safety tools we have. It's low cost, is in place 24/7 and it saves lives.
Road markings provide information and guidance about the layout of the road, including traffic lanes. They help regulate passing and provide hazard warnings.
Did you know?
Installing rumble strips on high-risk roads can reduce crashes by up to 25 percent
Road marking isn't just the white and yellow lines painted on the road; it also includes mechanical devices such as:
- Rumble strips
These indicate the side or centre line of the road for distracted and tired drivers. The combination of noise and vibration as your tyres run across a raised rumble strip provides a strong signal that you've drifted out of your lane and need to realign the car.
- Cats eyes
These divide lanes. Being reflective, they are more visible at night and in wet weather There is continuous effort to improve the effectiveness of road marking. Technological advances include the addition of reflective glass beads into markings to reflect car headlights and improve visibility, and textured road markings that are easier to see in wet conditions and at night.
There is also ongoing research into many smarter road marking solutions that encourage motorists to drive more safely for the conditions, e.g. roadside marking can create the perception of a narrower road which influences drivers to lower their speeds. Targeted use of white diagonal lines (chevrons) is effective for indicating to drivers that they're approaching an area of the road where they need to take more care.
AA speaking up for motorists
Support for continuous upgrading of road marking
The AA supports the New Zealand Transport Agency's efforts to upgrade road marking on New Zealand roads, especially the application of rumble strips and their requirement that all markings are reflective.
We support continuous investment in upgrade work, including greater consistency in the marking used throughout the road network. We've measured the visibility and reflectivity of road marking on roads throughout the country and in some local authority areas the standard is very poor.
We call for all road marking to be visible to drivers during the daytime, at night and in the wet.
Road marking solutions to create "self-explaining" roads
We'd like to see more emphasis on creating self-explaining roads for motorists. Self-explaining roads are designed so that the road reveals itself to motorists in such a transparent way that they instinctively drive at a speed which is appropriate for that road. On self-explaining roads, engineering features such as road marking encourage motorists to instinctively adjust their driving behaviour. Used effectively, road marking can also help reduce the accumulation of signs on the roadside.