Skip to comments.Wot - No Cats Eyes?!
Posted on 03/16/2011 8:08:04 AM PDT by MalPearce
I spent last week in Massachusetts and broke my "driving on the right" cherry at last, but then I got the shock of my life...
No cats' eyes, on any road, anywhere.
When I arrived in the country, it was dark, raining and slightly misty, and once I got out onto the I-93 northbound and had stopped putting the wipers on when indicating my turns, if anything it got even harder to drive. This was because I had a real job working out where the lane markings were. Even the cruddy Garmin sat-nav in the hire car didn't seem to know what road I was on never mind which lane I was in. Eventually I had to rely on where the car in front of me, appeared to be, and just hope they could see better than I could. But when I got into the office a colleague there said whole rows of cars end up in the ditch when people do that in bad weather.
Given the sheer quantities of snow still lying around in the area, I guess that's a real challenge which is why I'd be interested to know if any Freepers who've travelled in the United Kingdom can venture an opinion on whether or not the ubiquitous reflective cats' eyes we have, or indeed the "The filter lane for the exit you need is coming up in three, two, one, NOW" kind of fluorescent/reflective motorway signage we have in Blighty, made it easier for you to adjust to driving on the wrong side of the road in poor visibility conditions.
I left Logan airport one night for Wakefield, and wound up in New Hampshire.
They are not used here in Missouri for several reasons.
A woman was killed when a loose one went through her windshield and the family sued. The snow plows dislodge them and they then have to be replaced.
I suggest you spend six months or maybe even a year learning to share the room with crazy people, including many liberals and others who think they are geniuses, before you attempt to drive in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
As for the “cat’s eyes,” the only place I’ve seen those is at the various “shovel ready” projects that were undertaken in 2009 and 2010 under the Obama Stimulus package.
If driving for any extended amount of time in the Commonwealth, I would additionally suggest you turn your attention from a serch for “cat’s eyes” and direct your gaze to a higher plane. You will want to keep an eye out for multi-ton pieces of public works edifices, under which your path may take you, which can at random times fall off and attempt to make their way, propelled by the force of gravity, into the passenger compartment of your car, van, or SUV, sometimes through the windshield.
Let me know how you make out.
I would venture that you were driving on the right hand shoulder of the road? That's their HOV lane in Massachusetts.
You have done nothing until you master Stealing a Left and learning the Fade.
I drive on both sides - I live in Connecticut (Just south of Massachussetts) and in Ireland. I am familiar with the markings you speak of.
I don’t recall ever having to adjust which side my signals were on to which side my wipers were on. Strange ! What do you drive back in the UK ?
I prefer a land without the bright reflective markings. Lines in the road are helpful, but in the US there are more animals living roadside. When you see something reflective (In the NE US) it’s going to be an animal, so watch out.
If we had all those reflectors, I would either jump everytime something moved in an odd way, or I would just plow into a raccoon. Again, you do have roadside animals out there, but not as many as there are around here.
The roads here are the oldest in the US, and thus the oldest (carriage ways) in the world. Our houses are parted far enough apart to accomodate the automobile. In your area, most houses are far enough apart to accomodate a single horse carriage. Because of this, our pavements have gone through several evolutions to handle increased traffic, two-way traffic and the wider roads put more stresses on the center of the paved area. (Crowning the roads for drainage helps hide the stresses to the middle of the lane)
Your exit markers with the 3,2,1 type of markings are helpful, and a lot of US areas have these. Not in the NE.US. though. Again, our roads are old, harrowing, and tightly rounded around corners and objects. Our growth covers also make travelling fun with all the stuff that falls out of the trees. (Sometimes with a lethal result).
You will also notice that Motorcycling isn’t so popular out here. In the NEUS the roads are simply too crummy for a safe ride. The visibility is awful, and the potholes (Particularly this year as our economy and infrastructure crumble) are a serious concern.
But the cat’s eyes - I don’t miss those. It’s simply too much to process. Focus instead should be placed on proper headlights and proper adjustments. Sadly, 99% of americans simply don’t care about their headlights (And ALL FORDS have malaligned headlights!)
Enjoy our countryside, while it lasts. Things around here USED to be much, much better. But New England is simply deterioriating.
Oh, and don’t go near Alston-Brighton. It’s like Limerick, sans the whimsy.
Any idea how long a “Cat’s Eye” would stand up to a snowplow blade?
Just another evil reason for outsider from Mass to stay out of NH.
They had those cats eyes in New England for a while, but then they stopped using them in most places, presumably because they wouldn’t stand up to winter conditions and snow plows.
You have to watch yourself in Massachusetts. Some of the world’s worst drivers. One basic rule of the road is that people pulling out of driveways or shopping centers on your right never stop and wait for the traffic to go by, so you have to be constantly on the alert not to rear-end them when they pull out right in front of you, without even bothering to look.
I-93 is notoriously hazardous, it’s been that way since I can remember at least 30 years. I put my high beams on and hold my breath in bad weather. Some of the highways have small square reflectors built into the road which really help visibility, I think the Mass Turnpike does that.
Cheerio old top :)
That's a roundabout way to make a funny.
I’ve driven in the UK and appreciated the cat eyes and the roundabouts. Cat eyes are not a US thing. Worse yet there are some states where guard rails are not as common as some think they should be.
Being the UK doesn’t have any large trucks the snow plows might be smaller and more lightly built over there. You should drive slower. Deer and other obstacles don’t wear reflectors.
The few times I’ve driven in Australia I would also inadvertently signal my turns by activating the wipers. It took a bit to get used to the reversed controls.
On the I-93 and other roads, I couldn't make any studs in the lane markers at all.
The weather in Boston was pretty much the same as the weather in Yorkshire but I drive through country lanes to and from work and even in torrential rain I can make out the cats eyes. The third picture shows an American road at dusk, and as you can see the white lines on the verges are easy to make out because they're solid lines, but the ones in the center aren't.
I live in the north of England and we don’t get vast quantities of snow but even when we do it’s never an issue. In thirty five years of travelling from Scotland to Dover on that road I have never seen a loose cats eye fly up.
I did a google and it looks like there’s one documented incident of a cats eye in England coming away from the road and causing a fatality. But it was a freak accident; a van with a slow puncture was just about riding the rims when it drifted across lanes and the wire in the tyre snagged a reflector that had already worked loose. It flew up, hit a windscreen, and killed the driver of the car behind.
The original cats eye was designed for this to not happen - if you hit one full on it’s actually designed to just squash down into the recess, and it’ll slowly spring back up, and it’s a curved rubber surface that’s difficult for anything to accidentally hook.
That’s not to say they don’t get pulled out by snow plows, but when that happens it’s usually when the local farmer decides to do a DIY job on the local roads and thinks he’s got to scrape every last millimeter of snow away from the entire surface of the road.
The commercial and official snow cleaning operators would do it slightly differently, e.g. position the blades so that they clear the lanes as best as possible but don’t “shave” the lane marking area. I don’t know exactly how they do that bit of it but do know the roads where I live have clear carriageways and the white line area is cleared enough for the cats eyes to be almost visible. That’s all that’s required because when a car drives over a cats eye the snow falls away from it anyway.
In the US, we say "wyre in the tire".
IMHO from an Idaho country boy who just about peed his britches last time my bud picked me up at the airport there. 90 FReepin' mph through a snowstorm and we wuzn't even in the fast lane. Just damn.
Let’s face it, you probably don’t need power steering for long distance driving in New Mexico. Just lash the wheel into position, engage cruise control, and you’re good to go!
I can take the country route to work, if I fancy driving down a lane that’s no more than eight feet wide, hedges 9 feet high on each side most of the way, blind summits and random S bends galore, up hill and down dale, 1:4 gradients in places. At the far end summit is a hard left turn, flanked by ditches on each side. On a clear summer day, it’s perilous (if you drive slow enough not to crash into a tractor coming the other way you then have a three mile blind reverse to get to a safe overtaking spot) but darned good fun.
Since hardly any Brits switches over to winter tyres and snow chains are verboten over here, the journey to the office, despite only being seven miles, is one heck of an adrenaline rush if we’ve had a bit of snow.
I’m currently driving a Beamer 3 series station wagon, 1.9 turbo diesel, 2WD (front), plus run-flats. Power steering tuned to the point where you can make course corrections with a cotton bud. There’s no spare wheel because of the run-flats, so a huge sack of potatoes needs to be left in the back until the thaw.
Power steering is good because you need a hand free for your beer.
When you move to New Mexico, they stop you at the border, check you for contraband, then the “official greeter” comes over and yanks your turn signal level out saying “You won’t be needing this anymore!”
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.