India’s road network grew by 59% in the last nine years to become the second largest in the World after the United States. This is according to NDTV reports.
The country also aims to improve road transportation by introducing highway rumble strips.
Rumble strips are grooves or indents on roads placed every kilometer to reduce road accidents. These strips are designed to provide drivers with a tactile and audible warning.
Road safety continues to be a challenge in India. The World Bank reports that the country has the highest number of deaths from road accidents caused by factors such as poor road conditions, inaccurate road design, improper signage, and warning signs. To reduce road fatalities, the government has applied road strips or rumble stickers.
TimeDrives reports that these rumble strips vibrate and produce a road noise, alerting the driver. These are also placed before a lane merger to alert a fast, distracted, or drowsy driver or in the middle of the road to demarcate lanes.
Rumble strips can also be found along the shoulder of the road next to the curb to warn drivers if they dangerously veer out of the lane or close to the curb. According to the article, the most significant benefit is that these are low-cost road safety measures.
The intent behind implementing these rumble strips is good: to reduce fatalities on the road.
However, the actual experience of drivers passing through these rumble strips is another story.
Rumble strips discomfort
Drivers have applauded the high-quality road surfaces, but they are worried these strips – some appearing more frequently on some roads every 300-400 meters – could damage their tires quickly.
According to the BHP article, some are so thick that they shake the entire vehicle when passing them and could destabilize vehicles. Additionally, the rumbling sound creates another level of noise pollution for those living near these roads.
Not only do drivers of four-wheel vehicles experience discomfort when driving through these rumble strips, but two-wheelers like motorbikes and scooters have the worst experience. Many people in Hyderabad complain of severe back issues due to these rumble strips. While they could easily replace a damaged suspension, the same could not be said for a damaged spine.
The article notes that the long-term damage to these frequent rumble strips is substantial. This includes mounting vehicle repairs, noise pollution, and the effect on people living near the roads and the drivers who pass them regularly.
Ironically, these road safety measures also bring another danger or hazard. Some drivers adapt to them in various ways; some would drive very fast over them to avoid the unsettling rattle and noise inside their vehicle, and some would move slowly to reduce the rattling sound or noise. The differences in vehicle speed on the road could be another source of accidents or crashes.
Watch a video of a driver passing through roads with rumble strips, the road he takes daily to work.
Are there other measures to reduce road accidents?
Change.org presents alternative solutions to reduce fatal road crashes and accidents on India’s roads, including traffic education starting in schools and colleges.
Companies should provide traffic education to their employees as part of their corporate social responsibility.
They should also use technology like surveillance cameras to identify and deal with repeat offenders and increase pedestrian-operated signals, which are already in place on some of India’s roads and highways.
Chaudhary, U. (2023 June 3). Road infrastructure in India: Much improved but safety is questionable. Team-bhp. Retrieved from https://www.team-bhp.com/news/road-infrastructure-india-much-improved-safety-questionable
Bathini, S. (2022, November 22). Eliminate thick, unscientific rumble strips on Hyderabad city roads. Change.org. Retrieved from https://www.change.org/p/eliminate-thick-unscientific-rumble-strips-on-hyderabad-city-roads