Saturday, May 21, 2011

Oklahoma Freeway Trivia

The last week and a half, there has been much discussion about the color of the dotted line on the freeway. Everyone covers the basics of yellow vs. white in their drivers' ed class. The puzzle comes when the dashed line has black as well which is very common on the freeways in Oklahoma when the road is made of concrete. (Blacktop has just white dashes.) There could be any one of a number of reasons for this, but once you start asking, you've just got to keep looking until you find the REAL answer. After posing the question to many people (including an Oklahoma Trooper who looked like he had never had anyone who he had pulled over and had sitting in his squad car ask anything like that), it was discovered that the U.S. Department of Transportation has a thing called the Manual on Traffic Control Devices. It says:

Section 3A.04 ColorsStandard:Markings shall be yellow, white, red, or blue. The colors for markings shall conform to the standard highway colors. Black in conjunction with one of the above colors shall be a usable color.
When used, white markings for longitudinal lines shall delineate:
  1. The separation of traffic flows in the same direction.
  1. The right edge of the roadway.
When used, yellow markings for longitudinal lines shall delineate:
  1. The separation of traffic traveling in opposite directions.
  1. The left edge of the roadways of divided and one-way highways and ramps.
  1. The separation of two-way left turn lanes and reversible lanes from other lanes.
When used, red raised pavement markers shall delineate roadways that shall not be entered or used:
When used, blue markings shall supplement white markings for parking spaces for persons with disabilities. When used, blue raised pavement markers shall indicate locations of fire hydrants along a roadway.
Option:Black may be used in combination with the above colors where a light-colored pavement does not provide sufficient contrast with the markings.
Support:When used in combination with other colors, black is not considered a marking color, but only a contrast-enhancing system for the markings.
Random and trivial? Sure - but who do you want on your team when you're trying answer the question for that last piece of pie? 
God Bless!

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