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When the “rumble strips” showed up on Center Road (M37) recently, Old Mission Peninsula residents might have wondered if perhaps the roadwork wasn’t finished and there would be more to come. The answer is no, the rumble strips are stand-alone additions to M37, the main road on the Peninsula.

According to Michigan.gov, rumble strips are a low-cost measure used to address one of the most serious types of traffic crashes: a lane departure crash. They consist of a set of transverse grooves applied on the shoulder or centerline of a roadway.

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According to the site, rumble strips provide a tactile and audible warning to alert inattentive (distracted, drowsy, unfocused, etc.) drivers who may unintentionally drift out of their lane. This warning gives the driver an opportunity to correct their action or reduce speed, which may help them avoid or reduce the severity of a crash.

Shoulder rumble strips have been in use all over the country for many years and their safety benefits are well-documented, but centerline rumble strips are relatively new. Michigan is leading the way with this safety feature.

Between 2008 and 2010, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) undertook the largest initiative of its kind to install 5,400 miles of centerline rumble strips (and an additional 1,700 miles of shoulder rumble strips) on high-speed rural highways across the state. The site notes that this system-wide installation provided a unique opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of non-freeway rumble strips, which was done through a two-phase research project.

A before-and-after crash study performed for the 2008-2010 installation locations found significant reductions across all crash severities and lane departure crash types, including:

  • 50 percent reduction in head-on crashes
  • 46 percent reduction in run-off-the-road crashes
  • 51 percent reduction in fatal crashes
  • 41 percent reduction in incapacitating injury crashes

View MDOT’s Centerline Rumble Strip Brochure PDF here.

A NOTE FROM JANE: I started Old Mission Gazette in 2015 because I felt a calling to provide the Old Mission Peninsula community with local news. After decades of writing for newspapers and magazines like the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Family Circle and Ladies' Home Journal, I really just wanted to write about my own community where I grew up on a cherry farm and raised my own family. So I started my own newspaper.

Because Old Mission Gazette is a "Reader Supported Newspaper" -- meaning it exists because of your financial support -- I hope you'll consider tossing a few bucks our way if I mention your event, your business, your organization or your news item, or if you simply love reading about what's happening on the OMP. In a time when local news is becoming a thing of the past, supporting an independent community newspaper is more important now than ever.

To keep the Gazette going, click here to make a donation. Thank you so much for your support. -jb

Bay View Insurance of Traverse City Michigan

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