I used to believe that driving was quite easy once you learned how to control the wheels, but I was wrong. There’s so much to learn about road use, especially because many different white lines on the road mean different things. For example, flush median strips are commonly used and misused by drivers, but what do these lines mean?
Flush medians are markings designed to provide a wider separation between the traffic streams on both sides of the road. They can also provide pedestrians with a wide enough space to pause while crossing two streams of traffic. Also, a Flush median can provide a refuge for automobiles turning into and out of driveways and side roads.
I’ve talked about how the flush median works and important things you should know about it as a road user. Also, read till the end to learn how and when to use the median when next you drive properly.
What Does the Median Mean in Driving?
A median means the designated area that separates opposing traffic lanes on dual carriageways, divided highways, motorways, and freeways. Other than highways, the term can also be used to describe split streets, such as those seen in urban and suburban areas.
When there are flush medians, the space in between the lanes is paved and accessible to vehicles. This sort of median is commonly found in rural-to-suburban regions. Once you’ve made a right turn, the only way to drive onto the flush median is to wait for a gap in the traffic flow.
The flush median is a safe place to make a right turn, but be patient. You’ll need to confirm that there’s enough space for you to enter before you make a turn from the median.
What is Flush Median?
Some semi-urban and urban roadways have flush medians; white diagonal lines are painted down the middle to mark a wide space. They’re referred to as ‘flush’ because they’re drawn on the road’s surface and aren’t raised.
On the other hand, a median is any section of the road that separates the local lanes from the through lanes or opposite directions of the road. For example, medians might be flat or raised above the road surface. A block’s median is usually linear and continuous.
Pedestrian safety and traffic control devices, landscaping, facilities, and stormwater management can all be located in raised medians and islands. However, the installation of medians alone may boost vehicle speeds by lessening the friction between opposing traffic flows, which might lead to an increase in vehicle speeds.
The usage of raised islands as traffic-calming elements can be employed in places where there is no median, either in the middle of a block of traffic or at the entry to residential streets.
When can you Enter a Flush Median?
It’s okay to make a brief detour onto or off of a driveway or side road on a flush median. It is possible to use them to slow down before turning right or merge into a traffic gap to the left.
Right-hand turns on the flush median should be made by signaling and steering gradually onto the median rather than by making a sharp turn. Using the median to slow down and brake is a good idea. Those behind you won’t have to slow down as much in order to keep up with you.
If you choose to use the flush median as a buffer before entering into traffic on your left, perform a similar maneuver. Remember to signal and inspect your mirrors, accelerate, and ease into a traffic lane.
Always keep an eye out for pedestrians, other cars in the median, and any raised islands when driving in a flush median.
How Long Should you Drive on a Flush Median?
A short period of time is all that is needed to enter or exit a roadway with flush medians. This means you are not expected to continue driving on flush medians for too long. Overtaking lanes are not permitted on them as well.
People who want to utilize a flush median must make sure that the median is free of people already on it, as it can be used in either direction. Regardless of the circumstances, the same rules of the road must be followed by all drivers involved. Given that a vehicle is in the direction of oncoming traffic, it must yield to those already in motion.
Extra care should be given if sight is impaired on the flush median, as well. If an enforcement officer stops someone for driving in the median in the wrong way, they may give them a ticket, but they may not be held responsible for the accident.
What are Pedestrian Refuge Islands?
Congestion can be reduced via the installation of medians and islands, which the public or private sector can do. Also, a median or an Island can be on a street or the highway.
As a secure place to pause or wait for pedestrians, there can be pedestrian refuge islands. If you’re unable to cross a street in one go because of your disability, age, or children, a pedestrian refuge island is a great place to rest.
Slow-moving pedestrians can cross in two phases at signalized junctions. It is easier to find a gap in traffic to cross in unsignalized sites because only one direction of traffic has to be considered at a time.
On streets with medians smaller than 6 feet wide, pedestrians should be able to cross within one signal phase, and there is no need for detectable warning strips.
The route and waiting space on medians between 6 and 16 feet wide shall be at street level, with a row of 2-foot wide visible warning strips on each end and a minimum 2 foot wide clear zone in the center.
Pedestrian refuge islands must be raised on medians 16 feet wide or wider to give additional visibility for awaiting pedestrians. Raised islands should have two ramps (usually 6 feet wide) with three-foot-wide visible warning strips on each end and no less than a 4 foot wide waiting area.