Nugget of Knowledge: Lines on the highway


Len Rome's Daily Feature of Little Known Facts

(WYTV) – Drive along any road today, and unless it’s a small neighborhood street, chances are you’ll see the usual white lines or yellow lines down the middle.

How did those come about?

It wasn’t until 1917 and an increase in traffic that the states realized they needed some kind of lines to divide traffic moving in different directions.

That year, a 10-ton truck forced a California physician, Dr. June McCarroll, off the road in her Model T Ford.

Then, she had the idea of a white line painted down the center of the highways for safety.

Her local county Board of Supervisors ignored her, so she painted a centerline down that stretch of road herself.

Today, there’s a stretch of Interstate 10 that’s named for her.

It wasn’t until 1971 that we chose yellow centerlines to show traffic moving in opposite directions and white lines meaning the traffic is moving in the same direction.

How long are those broken white lines?

Most people assume the lines are about two feet long, with two-foot-long gaps. They’re actually 10 feet long and with 30 foot long gaps!

They do look smaller when you’re flashing past them.

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