If you've traveled any of Michigan's country roads at night, you
probably had to turn on the high beams to keep from running off the pavement.
Then you probably blinded the next oncoming car because you forgot to
turn them off.
An experimental concept on a stretch of road in the Netherlands could one
day put an end to the problem of low visibility with a technology that
makes you feel as if you're driving through a video game, according
to a report at
Glowing pavement replaces street lights for a 500-meter stretch of road,
creating a Tronlike street with markings that glow at night through the
use of solar-powered, photo-luminescent powder mixed into road paint.
The concept's creator, Studio Roosegaarde, plans to continue testing
the product at area parks. Eventually, it could morph into new products
for use on informational markers as a sort of functional street art.
In other forms, it could make a road's entire surface light up with
giant, glowing snowflakes to alert motorists about slick roads. The developers
also envision wind-powered lights that turn on when cars drive by, thus
saving electricity, and a special lane that would charge electric cars
as they move along.
Of course, these inventions would have to pass a great deal of scrutiny
before making their way to the United States. But they offer hope for
better lighting on rural roads and city streets where visibility is often low.
About 60 percent of
Michigan traffic crashes occur on county and city roads, 30 percent on U.S. and state highways,
and 10 percent on interstates, according to
Michigan Traffic Crash Facts.
The state offers a number of methods for
making roads safer to drive, including an interactive map,
Mi Drive. Michigan visibility maps also are available.
But better illumination of streets and highways with the use of glowing
paint might one day make them less dangerous, especially at night and
during heavy rain.