Nearly everyone has seen and experienced road studs before. They’re the little bumps that you see and feel on the road when driving and drift off to the side. Not only are they quite useful for preventing accidents but they’re easy to install and durable.

Here’s all you need to know about road studs.

WHAT ARE ROAD STUDS? Road studs are small reflective items used on the road to help boost visibility in the dark or when the weather is poor. They’re used throughout the UK and there are several types of road studs, including passive and active studs.

Passive studs simply reflect light, thanks to their reflective surface. This means when a car is driving down the road, the headlamps reflect off of the studs to let the driver see better. These are called cat’s eyes studs as they were developed after the inventor, Percy Shaw, saw a cat’s eyes reflecting in the dark.

Active studs have LED lights that help alert drivers to potential dangers. They illuminate the road, but also reflect light. The studs carry a battery that is recharged daily with solar power. This type of stud turns on once dusk falls.

Multiple colours of studs are used, as well. For example:

White: This indicates traffic lanes and the centre of the road.

Red: This shows lines that must not be crossed or dangerous areas. They are usually to the left of the road.

Yellow: The yellow studs line the right side of the carriageway, but they also indicate a line you should avoid crossing.

Green: This indicates a line that can be crossed and is used to show the left edge of the carriageway or the boundary of acceleration.

There are laws to ensure the studs are of solid consistency and resistant to sunlight and water. They are also limited in their height and may not be more than 20.3mm high and 130mm wide. Other construction requirements include the angle the stud is at, the flatness of the base, and how adhesive it is.

As vehicles will be driving over the studs, they have to be quite strong and flexible so they aren’t destroyed by the constant traffic. They also need to be quite resistant to extreme temperatures. The bitumen can heat up rapidly, but in winter, things get very cold on the carriageways.

WHY ROAD STUDS ARE USED Road studs are mainly used for their ability to change visibility at night. Since more crashes occur at night, with limited visibility, increasing visibility is important. It has been shown to prevent more crashes and to increase the ability of drivers to react to upcoming problems on the road, such as an animal crossing or a sudden turn.

Passive road studs allow drivers to increase their visibility up to 90 metres ahead of them, but active road studs provide visibility up to 900 metres ahead. This provides more opportunity for drivers to react to things on the road ahead and increases driving safety. When you drive over a road stud, you’ll feel a slight thud that reverberates through the vehicle – drive over multiple at a fast speed and the car will definitely feel the vibration, which will let you know what you have just done.

You can’t miss driving over a bunch of road studs as the shaking and the rattling noise will alert you to some sort of problem. For those who have issues staying in their own lane, the development of road studs is very useful and allows them to drive by touch and sound instead of just with their eyes. This is helpful in cases where a driver has fallen asleep or is spaced out. The tactile and audio signals will usually be more than enough to bring them back and warn them that they have gone over a line. This allows for near-instant correction.

The studs should be placed close enough together that they really rattle when you drive over them. Some roads have more than one road stud and they are set to cause a lot of shaking if you do drive onto the patches of road studs. These can be used wherever it’s particularly dangerous, such as when there is a cliff or something similar just off the road. Fair warning can be a group of road studs that will prevent you from making a terrible mistake.

Ideally, you will stay on the road, in the middle of your lane because that’s the best way to drive.

However, should you miss this, you’ll immediately know because the rattling of the road studs will begin.

REFLECTIVE ROAD STUDS OFF ROAD Not all reflective road studs are used on the roads. They can also be useful in spaces where there is limited light, but it’s still important to see. For example, car parks need to be visible and it can be terrifying to pull into a park at night and realise there are no lights. Having a few active road studs will make it possible to illuminate the area.

Not only does this provide safety, but it’s also reassuring to see where you’re walking and this can prevent tripping or other types of accidents. These areas are frequently managed at night and using a Sarel roller, the space will be illuminated and allow for a groundskeeper to walk along with the roller or dragmats.

Studs can also be used to mark out specific sports lines in sports ground construction. This type of delineation is usually done with small plastic reflective studs, not active flashing ones. They can be set along the grass, but more often, they’re affixed to a flatter, hard surface.

INSTALLING ROAD STUDS Any time you want to install road studs, you will need three main things. First, the studs that you wish to install, whether they be active or passive road studs. You’ll also need a measuring tape to ensure that each and every one of your road studs are properly placed. Finally, you’ll need road adhesive.

The adhesive comes in blocks, so you’ll need to melt it. This requires a special machine to melt the adhesive properly at the right temperature. Once melted, the adhesive can be spread on the bottom of each road stud and then the stud is placed where it needs to be. The adhesive will cool and prevent the stud from moving.

When this process is done on a solid surface, particularly concrete or bitumen, you’ll find that the road stud does not shift or come off. This can be used for a variety of things, such as marking the edge of the parking spaces, the road to the sports field, the edges of the field, or even a path to wherever you like. The reflective surface only works with headlights, but the brightly coloured studs can be easily seen most of the time.

If you choose active studs, you can have them turn on at dusk to show the way to the building or sports grounds if you like. These may be glued to the ground as well. Or you can stick them to a wall. They provide extra illumination and are easily visible day and night. Even in difficult weather, you can see the road studs.

ANTI SKATEBOARD STUDS AND OTHER TYPES OF STUDS Not all studs are specifically for roads or even car parks. Some are designed as a warning or to prevent people from doing things with property. For example, skateboarders frequently enjoy grinding along a post or sidewalk. Wherever there is a rail, they will hop it. To prevent this, anti skateboard studs are installed along these surfaces.

The studs prevent a smooth slide and this forces trick cyclists and skateboarders to go elsewhere. Studs may be large, raised bumps, but they can also be small angled pieces that will dissuade an eager skateboarder. For anyone who doesn’t want their concrete or sports area torn up by those on skates or skateboards, this is a good solution for keeping them away.

Road studs have many uses and are particularly useful for marking out lines and shedding light in dark places. They can make a path more visible, as well as making the road more visible. In short, it’s a good idea to use these for anywhere you plan to have people driving.

Are you interested in learning more about road studs? You can find out about them and more from Sportsmark.

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