An experiment on a 10-mile-stretch of remote eastern Iowa blacktop couldbring newer pavement markings to a highway near you. The experiment north ofWashington, Iowa, is testing wider stripes for the lines that divide thelanes on the highway and the ones that mark the side of the road. Pavementmarkings now have reflective glass chips, but researchers are ALSO testingwhether bigger chips help drivers see the stripes on the road during a rainstorm. Steve Gent (jent) of the Iowa D-O-T says a specially-equipped carhelps collect drivers’ reactions. Two cameras capture the driver’s eye andhead movements. Researchers then get a videotape which shows exactly whatthe driver’s looking at. Another camera shows if the car’s weaving in badroad conditions, like a thunderstorm. Old and young drivers are beingtested to find out if it’s worth it to spend the extra money on wider andmore visible lines. The research results are due next spring.
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