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Why A Divided Road Sign Helps Drivers

July 9, 2018

Divided roads are usually highways with a median strip in the middle to separate opposing traffic. The median strip can be landscaped or paved and often matches surrounding scenery. A divided road sign is helpful to drivers because it lets them know they are protected by a barrier from opposing traffic.

Divided vs. Two-Lane Highways

While a divided highway typically means two separate lanes for opposing traffic with a barrier in between, a two-lane highway simply means two lanes with nothing in between to separate opposing traffic except maybe a double yellow line. In some cases it may be a single broken yellow line to allow for passing, even in the wrong direction.

One of the main risks of driving on certain two-lane highways is narrower lanes, such as on rural highways, can be more deadly than urban freeways for various reasons. Rural drivers die at over twice the rate of city drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. A primary explanation is rural drivers often drive fast. If they realize they’re going the wrong way or missed a turn they may make too sharp of a U-turn too quickly. Such a move can cause the vehicle to slide out of control and off the road, which can be fatal on a narrow mountainous highway.

Accidents are reduced when roads are divided by median strips so that neither driving direction poses the risk of a head-on collision. A divided road sign can be used for multiple situations, such as when a divider begins and when it ends. These signs usually rely on arrows with the image of a median strip in between. Divided roads may also contain signs for merging traffic and added lanes.

Why Divided Road Signs are Necessary

Posting a divided road sign whenever a change in the roadway involving traffic direction and volume occurs helps give drivers a sense of how much time they have to change lanes. The sign lets them know they will be protected by a divider or will no longer be protected by a divider up ahead. Sometimes due to a narrower roadway, there isn’t room for a divider. In some cases, roads split apart for several miles, creating two separate one-way traffic lanes, which should be conveyed by signs.

A divided road sign is typically diamond-shaped and yellow, but can also be orange. The yellow diamond alerts drivers from far away that they need to read a warning sign. The most basic message is a sign which says “Divided Road.” Other signs that are related to road division include:

  • Road Narrows
  • Narrow Bridge
  • Ramp Narrows
  • Lane Ends Merge Left

Using signs that warn drivers about one-way, two-way, and divided road traffic helps prepare them for the road ahead. These signs can play a key role in affecting driving decisions, such as drivers taking alternate routes. For more information on designing a divided road sign, contact us at Zumar at our Arizona, California or Washington location.

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