Vehicle: Road: Material
Sharkskin Road Surface   (+4, -3)  [vote for, against]
A little bit of extra help when you need it most.

Everyone knows how sharks have skin that's smooth one way and rough the other, yes? Those swimsuits caused a bit of controversy if I remember rightly when they first appeared (linky).

So, it occurred to me the other day that if the road surface was textured in a similar way to a shark's skin, it would aid grip and shorten stopping distances.

The way I envisage it is as a series of tiny points, all sloping in one direction. If they pointed against the direction of travel, then they would give extra grip when the brakes were applied, which would shorten stopping distances. The "normal" characteristics of the road (ie: when accelerating or travelling at a constant speed) wouldn't be affected - I'm not proposing a road which has no grip except for in one direction, just a road which has extra grip in one direction.

Similarly, if the points were pointed towards the inside of a corner, then lateral force would be increased, enabling the car to corner more safely.

I'm not talking about huge spikes which would tear tyres apart within a few miles - however I'm sure there would still be a tyre wear issue, so maybe these would best be restricted to high-risk areas, such as tricky bends or on the run up to junctions.

As I type, it's just occurred to me that anyone falling off a motorcycle would be sliding in the wrong direction and so there would maybe be a greater injury risk - all the more reason for selective use. I'm sure someone on here could explain whether it's better for a (non-leathered up) motorcyclist to slide quickly to a halt on a rough surface or slowly to a halt on a slippery surface?
-- kmlabs, Mar 15 2006

Sharkskin swimwear
As mentioned in my first paragraph. [kmlabs, Mar 15 2006]

As rough as you want it, baby.
I have never seen anything like it anywhere else outside NZ, Australia and South Africa. This thing is mean. [methinksnot, Mar 15 2006]

Shark car http://www.lots-tra.../cmc_shark_car.html
for [po] [methinksnot, Mar 15 2006]

Prismo Suregrip 924
[mecotterill, Feb 08 2008]

Or you could put the points on the wheels?
-- zeno, Mar 15 2006

//Everyone knows how sharks have skin that's smooth one way and rough the other// learn something every day! is that why they can't reverse easily?
-- po, Mar 15 2006

Or park, sharks can't park.
-- methinksnot, Mar 15 2006

park what?
-- po, Mar 15 2006

Park their cars, silly [po]. Linky
-- methinksnot, Mar 15 2006

who you calling silly? your snotty name has been putting me off for days...
-- po, Mar 15 2006

Do you want me to change it? I've grown somewhat attached to it, given the modest successes I've had with The Whibble and The Scrotchword, but nothing is too much for you; my dear [po].

It was really [DrCurry] that started this snot business.

[BB] baby, it's a free interpretation username. Much like ballet dancing to "Wayfaring Stranger".
-- methinksnot, Mar 16 2006

-- kmlabs, Mar 16 2006

I'm sorry to hear you got hit in the face with a cabbage. We'll find the bastards.
-- notmarkflynn, Mar 16 2006

[methinksnot], I've nothing to say of your name, but you misspelled "whibble."

As for this idea, the car may stop too quickly (head injury & whiplash) may catch on the denticles and flip forward (in the case of those European, laterally stunted, longitudinally heightened compacts, and of course, for any lost stopping time, you will have gained acceleration time on the slippery roads.
-- jellydoughnut, Mar 16 2006

And one of my ideas too, how embarrassing.

It has been corrected now.
-- methinksnot, Mar 16 2006

[jellydoughnut] I'm not proposing extreme grip/no grip, just a very slight increase in available grip when you really need it - let's face it, stopping quickly with your brakes isn't as much of a whiplash risk as crashing into another car. Also, I don't propose that the grip is hugely reduced if you go against the direction of the denticles - for one thing, that would make overtaking an extremely hazardous pastime.

[zeno] if you put the points on the wheels then you wouldn't be able to angle them towards the inside of a corner. I also think there'd be an issue with tearing up the road...
-- kmlabs, Mar 17 2006

I think this may be baked already, there is something they put on the approach to roundabouts and slip-roads here in the UK which is an anti-skid surface.
-- mecotterill, Feb 08 2008

random, halfbakery