General Question

ibstubro's avatar

What's your opinion of "rumble strips" cut into the road?

Asked by ibstubro (18760points) October 13th, 2014

I have mixed thoughts. I know they wake people up and save lives, but I think they have a lot of drawbacks, too.

Where does your state put rumble strips, and what’s your thoughts on that?

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30 Answers

elbanditoroso's avatar

The safety positives far outweigh anything else. Especially for drowsy drivers and drivers that are texting.

I’d be interested to know what drawbacks are.

(By rumble strips, I am assuming you mean the corrugation on the side of the freeway and/or the rows of strips when approaching a stop (sign or light) at a major intersection.

If you mean speed bumps or speed humps – that’s a different story.

Pachy's avatar

I had this conversation with a friend just a few days ago. I believe in ‘em. The sound is annoying, but that noise becomes beautiful when it wakes up a dozing driver or re-focuses his or her wandering mind. Now ff they could be embedded with a chip that shuts off the driver’s cell phone, all the better.

JLeslie's avatar

What are the negatives?

ibstubro's avatar

I’m hoping the Details will bring out negatives.

How they are used in states, and how that might be a drawback.

I, personally, know that within 3 states there is median, center line, and intersection approach use.

JLeslie's avatar

Ok wait, I’m not familiar with using them in a center line, is that the yellow double line? The median, do you mean the turning lane? Near intersections I haven’t seen either. On major roads nearing an intersection with a traffic light? Or, in more rural situations?

In FL we have reflectors along most dashed an solid lines on interstates which help light your way and create a bump if you cross into another lane. I think those are much better than a rumble on the road. Although, the rumble can be good in some situations. It feels like it actually slows the car, but I don’t know if that is really the case. If you are braking that the car slows faster?

Aethelwine's avatar

I live a half mile from the junction of two two-lane highways where there is a stop sign and rumble strips for one of the highways. If I’m outside I can hear when large vehicles drive over the rumble strips. I’ve also heard many accidents at that junction. I’m sure there would be many more accidents if those rumble strips weren’t there.

I can’t really think of any negatives. Maybe if someone lived near them and the sound annoyed them, but it doesn’t annoy me.

JLeslie's avatar

@ jonsblond are the strips in the last 100 feet before the intersection? Or, do they have rumbles every 50 feet or so as you approach the intersection?

SQUEEKY2's avatar

I love the rumble strips, especially when trying to pass a car I get right beside the maggot and then they decide they don’t want the big truck passing them so they speed up, when that happens let my duels fall into the strips the noise that makes scares the driver and they back off and I can finish my pass.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

I see no negatives at all with rumble strips.

Aethelwine's avatar

@JLeslie There are two sets spaced apart from each other before the stop. My guess would be 50 feet but I’m terrible at estimating lengths.

dappled_leaves's avatar

I love them on the sides of the road. It’s a smart idea.

But I’ve seen some installed near the centre line, and I don’t think they were very well implemented. If they exist in a place where a car can and does legally pass, I think that makes them pointless. If it’s, say, a double yellow centre line on a highway with wide lanes, that should work fine.

zenvelo's avatar

The negatives are when they put them on roads that are shared with bicycles; they are pretty much impassable on a bike.

But other than that, I like them better than dots.

kevbo's avatar


The first time I saw this idea was as a public art proposal at an exhibit at Seattle’s Bumbershoot Festival in 1998. Amazing that it has hardly ever been implemented.

JLeslie's avatar

@jonsblond Seems like a good idea to me for a stop sign a lot of people might miss.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I’ve never heard them called ‘rumble strips’ but I think they’re a valuable safety mechanism. I can’t think of anywhere I’ve encountered them and found them to have some negative facet.

the100thmonkey's avatar

Rumble strips are awesome.

lillycoyote's avatar

The only experience I’ve had with rumble strips was positive, I guess. I don’t remember where I was but they certainly got my attention. I had been driving a long stretch of fairly deserted, nowhere interstate and I was apparently starting to drift off the road. If the strips hadn’t been there I’m not sure when I would have noticed the drifting. I probably would have corrected myself but it was nice to have the heads up. Pay Attention Lilly! That was the message.

Pachy's avatar

I too see no negatives with them. I’m sure they’ve saved many a life, including those of libertarians.

ibstubro's avatar

I think rumble strips cause the tires to grip the road better on one side than the other, and it can be difficult to get back off of them.

Missouri is very anal about rumble strips, cutting them on all the lines in some places. Side and middle lines, passing zone or not. So if you’re not on the 100% straight and narrow, you’re on a rumble, and it’s pulling your car.
Iowa is fond of cutting a couple of sections prior to an intersection, like @jonsblond describes.
Illinois has cut their strips on the outside of the white lines in the shoulder. That seems the best plan, to me. However they now have miles and miles of ruined shoulder do to the asphalt not being thick enough and/or water standing in the strips. Most of the shoulders on the interstate around here are buckled and they have posted warning signs.

Thanks all!

dappled_leaves's avatar

@ibstubro I agree that they do pull the car a little, which is one reason I don’t like them to be on any surface where a car would or should drive.

ibstubro's avatar

Thanks, @dappled_leaves.
I was on narrow 2-lane most of yesterday and Missouri has cut all three stripes, all the way. Both sides and the middle. The faster you drive, the more the pull, so it’s really almost a hazard when passing.
And this time of year in Missouri, with all the farm equipment on the road, passing is nearly required.
And not having some sort of norm is a problem. In Illinois the strips are cut outside the white lines, on the shoulder. It drives Illinois people insane to drive in Missouri. The first time I hit the deep ‘pre-intersection’ strips in Iowa, I thought I’d had a blow-out or something. It panicked me. Maybe they could cut the sections gradually deeper to warn people.

JLeslie's avatar

I would also agree they can pull tye car a little. Someone driving with their knee might lose control. I mean that with all seriousness,

dappled_leaves's avatar

@JLeslie Umm… best not to drive with one’s knees then.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t, I’m to worried about what can go wrong, but people do. Or, they drive while eating a hamburger or drinking coffee or a zillion other things where their grip and attention might not be 100%.

ibstubro's avatar

We’re back. Typo in question. No “of”.

kritiper's avatar

They are a great idea. Need ‘em between lanes, too!

Dutchess_III's avatar

I like them. The only bad thing is when you’re passing, the strips kind of yank the car around.

majorrich's avatar

The only negative that I can think of is they may loosen retread tires, which in a passenger car is pretty uncommon. I don’t know how pervasive they are with big trucks.

LuckyGuy's avatar

In Japan, there is a section of road that plays a song.
While admittedly very cool, IMO, it is an incorrect use of highway funds.

JLeslie's avatar

@LuckyGuy When I clicked on your link there are other YouTube stories about singing roads in America. One in NM and one in CA. I think it’s cool. The one in NM was paid for by National Geographic. They say it makes the road safer, because it slows traffic. If you drive too fast you can’t hear the music play. I wish they had that on parts of the FL Turnpike. Like near the 25MPH tolls. It wouldn’t work well though, too much lane changing near tolls.

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