[OPINION] Please can someone secure better cats eyes for our roads


CapeTalk producer Bruce Hong takes a look at the condition of road studs or retro-reflective safety devices used on South African roads.

When driving on a dark road, the presence of road studs, better known as cat’s eyes, is indeed welcome, as they reflect the light from your vehicle’s headlights back towards you, creating a guide dotted line indicating where the road markings are.

They are also color coordinated to match the road markings they represent: white for lane markings, yellow for shoulders, and red when you must not cross or on the wrong side of the roadway.

But have you noticed that after a few years, you don’t see them anymore?

Even when you engage your high beams, they struggle to reflect anything. The only evidence of their presence is the telltale “ba dump-ba dump” sound you hear when you change lanes and your tires make contact with them.

The problem really is that when they lose reflectivity it’s gradual so you don’t really notice it, and it’s only when new ones are fitted that you see the difference.

I travel daily on the N1 to Cape Town early in the morning, well before the sun comes up, so I know how dark the roads can be. The section of motorway to which I refer in particular is FW De Klerk Boulevard between the Koeberg interchange and the Marine Drive exit where, until last week, the overhead lights had been off for many months until this that I submit a C3 service request to the City of Cape Town to be repaired.

The N1 highway was resurfaced earlier this year, up to the Koeberg interchange and it can be told because of the color difference of the road surface, brighter lines and glowing cat eyes. But once you step under the M5, these cats’ eyes go invisible, as if they’ve all fallen asleep (as cats are known to do), or developed the plastic equivalent of cataracts.

How long do these road studs last and why don’t we buy longer lasting ones or replace them before they wear off? The issue of cat eye discoloration isn’t entirely new either, as the subject has come up many times in the past, and every time we encounter a shrug of the shoulders from the authorities.

Hopefully, they’ll find a more durable brand the next time they buy a new batch of these important road safety devices.

Bruce Hong is the producer of CapeTalk Breakfast.

Copyright : noppharat / 123rf


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