The white dashed lines on US highways are 10 feet long. And the space in between them runs 30 feet long. Most people believe that they’re only 2-4 feet long at most.

Slow Down — Those Lines On The Road Are Longer Than You Think

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Take a guess — how long are the dashed lines that are painted down the middle of a road?

If you’re like most people, you answered, “Two feet.”

The real answer is 10 feet. That’s the federal guideline for every street, highway, and rural road in the United States, where dashed lines separate traffic lanes or indicate where passing is allowed.

A new study has found that people grossly underestimate the length of these lines — a finding which implies that we’re all misjudging distances as we drive, and are driving too fast as a result.

Dennis Shaffer, assistant professor of psychology at Ohio State University’s Mansfield campus, led the study, which appeared in the journal Perception & Psychophysics.

Sha… Continue Reading (5 minute read)

5 thoughts on “The white dashed lines on US highways are 10 feet long. And the space in between them runs 30 feet long. Most people believe that they’re only 2-4 feet long at most.”

  1. krazytekn0

    One of the biggest lessons when I started investigating traffic accidents was how fucking big everything is when it’s near a roadway. People just don’t comprehend it naturally

  2. joeschmoe86

    Human beings are pretty good at judging medium-sized things moving at medium speeds. Freeway speed is right about where that judgment starts to get fuzzy.

  3. A_Unqiue_Username

    Same goes for the signs along highways/interstates too. There was an exit sign for the interstate not too far from our house when I was a kid. Didn’t look that big when we drove by, but when we rode our bikes over there (via frontage road) it was huge! You could park two trucks on that thing side by side no problem.

  4. cecilpl

    I learned this when I was about 10 and my dad bet me $5 that the lines on the road were longer than the car.

    I thought it was a sure thing, but I learned two lessons that day – the second of which was that you should never accept a bet that you didn’t initiate.

  5. AmadSeason

    I bet the same goes for other things like street signs, stoplights, hwy signs etc. A lot of things seems a bit smaller in a vehicle when your moving at a certain speed.

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