04 Cows bIn 1911 the first centre line was painted on an American road in Detroit, the man responsible for it declaring that a leaking milk van that left a white line along the middle of a street inspired the idea. It wasn’t until the 1950s that lines started appearing along the edges of roads. A study by Potter Industries in the USA, a company that manufactured reflective glass beads put in the paint used for road markings, suggested that at night roads without edge lines were six times deadlier than roads with them. Drivers, it suggested, drove off the roads because they could not see where the edges were. It wasn’t the road safety silver bullet that seat belts turned out to be, but road marking is nevertheless considered to have contributed significantly to a falling road toll.


Posted February 2020.


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