In Germany, each year, roughly 75 to 80 accidents are caused by drivers on the wrong side of the highway. In many cases, these accidents have fatal consequences. Innovative cold plastic, one-sided rumble strips are now being tested to try to prevent these wrong-way drivers. The new road marking system, which has already been patented, was designed by a student at the police academy in the German state of Saxony. The initial tests have been positive.
As a prospective police commissioner, Konstantin Berkovych from Jena (Germany) knows that most wrong-way drives begin at highway ramps and end often with serious accidents. A new utility model that he developed should make a considerable contribution towards improving safety at these accident black spots: To prevent wrong-way driving, "one-sided rumble strips" are to be installed on the road surface within a 100 cm wide by 2 cm deep recessed groove across the lane. The specially shaped cold plastic coating with an uneven, rough bulge will give potential wrong-way drivers a strong tactile and acoustic signal, alerting them of the hazard situation and influencing them to immediately leave the wrong driveway. On the other hand, drivers who are driving in the correct direction will hardly notice the rumble strips and perceive them as no more than a slight bump in the road.
A first prototype of Berkovych's rumble strip system has already been tested successfully on the former military airbase in Rothenburg/Upper Lusatia, Germany, to evaluate its practical use. In collaboration with the Saxon Police Academy and SWARCO Limburger Lackfabrik GmbH, the prospective police commissioner built a roughly 32-meter-long test route consisting of five individual rumble strips. For the diagonal markings, a cold plastic material, which was developed especially for this application, was applied to the grooves in the road surface.
LIMBOPLAST for rumble strips, a cold plastic based on DEGAROUTE® from SWARCO Limburger Lackfabrik, proved to be the ideal solution. "Cold plastic road markings based on DEGAROUTE® reactive resin, which is produced by Evonik Industries, have especially good dimensional stability and durability and are particularly environmentally friendly. They have been contributing towards road safety for more than 50 years," says Jochen Henkels, Business Director Road Marking & Flooring at Evonik. The hard, abrasion-resistant material will also protect the road surface where the rumble strips are applied and the edges formed by the cutting process against premature wear and tear.
The new rumble strip system will soon be ready for practical use in a second series of tests. Berkovych, the developer and owner of the utility model, expects that it will take three to four hours to install the system with overall costs of €3,000 to €3,500 for each junction. Consequently, the new, one-sided rumble strips are not only an effective solution but also a reasonably priced to warn drivers about hazard areas and, under certain circumstances, also save lives. Most certainly a worthwhile investment.
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