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This month with Three Counties Lining, we will be looking back at the history of road markings, why they came about and how they became such an important part of the future.

1918 – first road markings

In 1918 the white line was placed on some UK roads, which was in fact, the first ever marking to be applied. A few years later these lines became prominent on many roads throughout the country.

1926 – the marking became official

Interestingly, although the white line was used on nearly all roads within the UK, this marking took nearly a decade to be recognised as an official feature of the road. This was eventually established by the First Ministry of Transport.

1930 – white lines = “stop signs”

Throughout the 30’s white lines were known as “stop signs” too. To help the flow of traffic, these markings were placed at junctions where cars would come across either police or traffic lights to keep movement under control.

1933 – cat’s eyes

By this point, cat’s eyes were placed in the middle of the road, to aid the white lines at night and during foggy days when visibility was poor.

1944 – more jobs for the white lines

White lines were used to establish the sides of the road, to keep vehicles in the appropriate designated lanes. This was also introduced to establish boundaries between the carriageway and lay-bys.

1950 – yellow lines

Surprisingly, it took until the 50s for the yellow line to be introduced, with the intention to reduce waiting times of traffic and to allow pedestrians access to the pavements. Previously, loading and unloading without any rules and regulations caused a lot of disruption.

1959 – double white lines

This marking was used to manage overtaking when the roads were narrow to increase the separation between cars on both sides of the road for improved safety.

1960 – yellow box

As the roads became increasingly busy, the yellow box was utilised to manage the flow of traffic.

Road markings and their designs

The white line was initially used as an experiment to see if the markings would reduce collisions and accidents in highly prone areas. The first white line was believed to be placed in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, as this was an area in particular that faced recurring issues with reckless driving. As this proved to be successful, road markings and their designs became a vital safety feature on future roads. Road markings were, in later years, implemented throughout various other countries.

Three Counties Lining want to spread the word about how useful road markings can be. We have been established for over 20 years and are road lining specialists providing services such as playground markings, sports court markings, car park marking, floor logos and graphics, coloured surfacing, surface coating, road marking and lining, health and safety services and many more. If you would like more information, please give us a call today to speak to an expert!

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