Letter to the editor: Put the rumble strips where they’re needed

The recent opinion piece [in the Billings Gazette] crowing about the wonders of center line rumble strips completely ignores the fact that head on and side swipe collisions are a tiny percentage of Montana highway fatalities.

Any reduction in fatalities is a step in the right direction, but the majority of fatalities on two lane highways are not head on but single car accidents caused by drivers drifting off the road, and reacting with panic; they’re so called “over-correcting” accidents that invariably result in a roll over in which the occupants are often ejected and killed. These are usually incidents involving drowsy, distracted or impaired drivers, but there really is nothing we can do about those factors realistically unless we want to live in a gestapo state.

Rumble strips along the edges of the road would be of vastly more value than centerline rumble strips. Ideally they would be of a triangular shape, with the narrow tip projecting to the white line, and the wider deeper portion closer to the edge of the road. These would be of immense value, as they would gently get your attention, becoming more insistent as you drifted farther off the road, and would also be life savers when meeting a semi on a two lane road when as is frequently the case, powder snow blows up behind the truck and blinds traffic.

In these zero visibility conditions, a reasonably skilled driver could stay safely on the road until the blowing snow cleared instead of hanging on and praying.

Put the rumble strips where they can really save lives, not just make noise on the shoulders.

Howard Wilkinson, Big Timber



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