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Headlight shields as highway dividers
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When driving in the left lane on a highway at night, you will most certainly be blinded by the headlights of oncoming cars. Such highways where this would be useful are often divided only by a narrow concrete divider. It's good to know that there are such cars on the oncoming side, so I'm not proposing a solid divider that prevents seeing the oncoming lane, but a translucent barrier of some form that lessens the effect of oncoming headlights into almost nothing. I guess I'm imagining a tall plastic divider that extends up from a concrete divider and has a blue or brown tint. It should catch the light and prevent dissipation.

Here in California, US101 through the San Francisco peninsula occasionally has some plastic poles sticking up from the concrete that do a fair job, except there are gaps between the poles, and they really don't work well when traffic is coming down a large hill and shining right at you.

I've also heard that these translucent dividers might already exist somewhere. Has anyone seen them?

gd, Mar 23 2001


       I recommend moving to a lane further from the divider. Some highways around Seattle have plastic vanes sticking up about a foot and a half from the divider. I just realized that they form a solid wall from an acute angle, but allow you to see through them from the side. It never occurred to me that they would be there to reduce headlight glare, but that must be it. Beats my earlier theory that they had something to do with air flow.
centauri, Mar 23 2001

       I've also seen the vanes in Germany. In addition to the vanes, I've seen something more like gd's idea in Germany. It's a plastic wall up to about 10 feet high, and it's almost 100% transparent at a viewing angle of from about 45 to 90 degrees. But at more acute angles, a surface coating makes it more reflective. I'd imagine this is cheaper, but I'd think it would have wind-resistance problems that the vanes don't.
beauxeault, Mar 24 2001

       egnor, the green vanes were mentioned in the Anti-Gawker Shield annotations.
DrBob, Mar 24 2001

       What's wrong with a solid barrier preventing one from seeing the oncoming lane? It's not like you need to turn across it on a highway...It would also help prevent 'billiard' wrecks, where someone hits someone from behind, drives them across the median into the oncoming traffic and makes a hell of a mess.   

       That being said, anything that cuts down on the rubbernecking idiots is good...
StarChaser, Mar 24 2001

       StarChaser: well, for example, I would still like to be able to identify landmarks on the other side of the road. For example: gas stations, lakes, office buildings, etc.
gd, Mar 24 2001

       You said "It's good to know that there are such cars on the oncoming side, "   

       I was replying to this. You said 'lane', not 'landmark'. You're not going to be able to see anything through a translucent divider, either, in any detail. Hardly my fault if you were imprecise.   

       So make them six feet or so. High enough to block view of the other lane, but you can see over them to taller things.
StarChaser, Mar 24 2001

       Well, there are things I hadn't considered in the case of a solid wall, which you brought up. Granted, it isn't essential to see the oncoming lane, but maybe my claustrophobia demands it.
gd, Mar 24 2001

       I'd rather NOT see it. If you can see through it, they can come through it. Bulletproof glass, before anybody suggests that, needs to be replaced periodically as ultraviolet degrades it. In Florida, it'd be a neverending job.   

       Besides, if you can see through it, people are going to slow down to look at the pretty red and blue lights hoping that magically it will become clear and they can see all the stuff that won't be on Jerry Springer later...If it's concrete, they won't. Well, they SHOULDN'T, they probably will anyway. Sheeple are idiots.
StarChaser, Mar 25 2001

       How about giant mirrors on the outside lane, angled so that you can see what is past the oncoming lane (and over the barrier) without having to see the cars.   

       To avoid symmetry it might be good to alternate the mirrors on either side of the road.
cmeador, Mar 25 2001

       Oh My God, Mirrors?
thumbwax, Mar 25 2001

       Or put electric eyes on the hoods of cars that sense the lights of oncoming cars and automatically dim your lights. Two cars so equipped would step down from "bright" as soon as they "saw" each other.
Uncle Nutsy, Mar 26 2001

       Some cars already have those...Mostly luxury cars...   

       UnaBubba: Where's 'here'? East of where I live the interstate has trees and brush in a very widely divided media, and that's pretty much perfect. Occasional turnaround roads, but mostly solid trees so you don't get blinded.
StarChaser, Mar 26 2001

       Same in most places that aren't completely urban, though there are stretches between Hill And Dale that afford ones eyes no protection against oncoming glare. Oleandar thrives without much care, and is commonly planted as physical/visual barrier in wide medians. Still trying to ascertain the good of mirrors though, cmeador.
thumbwax, Mar 27 2001


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