Wednesday, November 19, 2014

2354 Divot Up

I was driving through a roundabout recently and as I made my way back to the regular road I saw something that made me reflect on the changes we've had in road safety technology: Reflectors.

Yes, those reflectors they put in the middle of roads to help us see the lines in the dark. They, or some version of them, are going to become more important as we move to driverless car technology. Driverless cars currently suffer from not being able to see lines in the road during adverse weather conditions like rain and snow. Maybe the next generation of reflectors will have transponders built in. 

Then again, snow has been one of the conditions that make road turtle reflectors problematic. Due to snowplows, chains, and studded tires, which break and scrape off those lovely reflectors. 

That's why another change has been being installed recently, reflectors that are stuck to the road in shallow divots they've carved out of the road. Apparently they have some expensive new machine that gouges out a piece of pavement then sticks a reflector in the depression. (And possibly creates an incipient expensive pothole to repair later?)

In the northwest it's not working so good. At least in the fall. The stretch of road I was driving on had the divots all filled up with leaves and pine needles coagulated around the wet dirt and oil washed into it. Guess what reflector I couldn't see?

The gouged-out divots collect debris like a gap in your teeth. Little sesame seeds of detritus desperately in need of a road flossing. Which perhaps will be the next piece of expensive specialized equipment the city has to buy to add to their gouger-reflector-sticker.

A road divot flosser.

Whatever happened to highly reflective paint? 

America, ya gotta love it. 

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