UAE road markings should be clear in all conditions, safety experts say

Pavement markings are only useful if they can be seen in all conditions - especially at night, experts say.

Road markings should appear brighter and easier to see to help drivers navigate the road at night, experts said. Mona Al Marzooqi/ The National
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ABU DHABI // Road markings should appear brighter and easier to see and help drivers navigate the road at night, ­experts say.

Pavement markings are useful only if they can be seen in all conditions, especially at night, said Michael Dreznes, vice president of the International Road Federation, a non-profit group that aims to promote safer and more sustainable roads.

“Properly applied and maintained horizontal reflective markings will make a road ­safer, and should be used.”

If there is little buffer between the barrier and the travel lane, some type of warning is useful for drivers, said Glenn Havinoviski, associate vice president of the US traffic management company Iteris.

“One could place a reflectorised left lane line at least two metres from the barrier edge, if there is no shoulder,” he said.

“In the US, sign guidelines are that edge lines need to meet higher retro-reflectivity standards than other pavement markings, meaning they need to be even more visible than other types of markings.”

Painting barriers yellow or yellow and black was done many years ago elsewhere, Mr Havinoviski said. “The main issue is the paint wearing down, chipping and peeling, which becomes a maintenance matter.”

Thomas Edelmann, founder of Road Safety UAE, said good visibility at day and night was of key importance in road safety.

“Proper lighting of vehicles, roads and road markings plays a vital role,” he said. “Often we observe missing or faded markings.”

V P Naushad, an Abu Dhabi resident for 25 years, posted on the Road Safety UAE website about the need to improve road markings.

He believed the grey-and-white road dividers along a portion of Sheikh Zayed Street could pose a serious crash risk. The divider on the Sheikh Zayed tunnel road, which joins the road from Hazza bin Zayed and the Reem Island Bridge area, is not visible, particularly at night, he said. “These road dividers should have reflective paint, or at least be painted yellow and black, to improve night-time visibility,” said the 54-year-old father of two.

There are a number of options for road markings and the main considerations are the type of road, traffic volumes, the initial cost, and the complexity of applying them, Mr Dreznes said.

The initial costs of paint markings are significantly less than any other methods but the markings can be worn away rapidly on high-volume roadways and need to be re-striped more than once a year.

Epoxy markings are durable, sprayable, offer longer service life – about five years – and provide good adhesion to asphalt and concrete, he said.

Officials from the Department of Municipal Affairs and Transport were not available for comment.