We see and use them every single day when we drive, they help guide us in the right directions, literally, and traffic would not be the same without them; we’re talking of course about road markings and lines. But have you ever wondered about what goes into painting these handy lines on all of our roads? Are you puzzled as to how they manage to paint them so straight? How about that seemingly invincible paint they use that is capable of withstanding the elements all year round? Well, wonder no more because we’re here to answer all of your questions about road lines and how they are made!
What is the paint made from?
The extra strong and noticeably white and yellow paint used on the roads is made from thermoplastic resin mixed with titanium-dioxide pigment and small reflective glass beads. This paint is made extra strong because it needs to withstand anything that nature throws at it; rain, sun, heat, cold, snow, ice, you name it. Road crews are extra careful to use only the best paint available and use it well.
How is the paint applied?
On major roads, the lines are applied using dedicated road marking vehicles that apply the paint under the control of a computer, but there is still a challenge when it comes to following the surveyed lines to a tee, and at the correct pace. These two things fall into the hands of the steersman, who is usually very highly skilled. On smaller roads, the job is even more complicated because the paint is applied using a laying pram, which is a simple metal trolley fitted with a heater that keeps the paint nice and fluid. A steersman is still tasked with following the surveyed lines at the right rate in order to ensure the lines are the correct length and thickness. In addition to these duties, the steersman on a smaller road is also tasked with stopping and starting the flow of paint in order to achieve the right pattern.
Why are these lines important?
Road lines are one of the most important things to pay attention to while on the road, for any vehicle. These lines guide and direct traffic on all roads from little backcountry lanes, to larger busier roads in the city, to busy and hectic freeways. They are what help guide cars and allow them to merge, turn, and change lanes safely and accurately. It’s for these reasons that so much care is put into painting these lines on our roads.
Now that you know a little more about how all of those road lines are applied and what they’re made of, chances are you’ll appreciate them a little more the next time you hit the road. Safe driving is always your best course of action, so make sure to follow the rules of the road and obey those traffic lines!