6 Fun Facts You Didn't Know About The Road

You've had your driver's license for a while, and you consider yourself well-versed in the rules of the road. However, chances are good you've only scratched the surface about what's going on along the highways and byways. This list of fun facts you didn't know about the road can keep your eyes sharp the next time you get behind the wheel.

Fact #1: Blue Reflectors Are Fire Hydrant Warnings

How many times have you circled the block to find a parking spot, and just when you think you have one, it turns out to be a hydrant? Well, if you notice the reflectors on the road, you'll see they change to blue to let you know where the hydrants are. This is more useful for firefighters, but it's also a fact that regular motorists can benefit from.

Fact #2: Drivers Aren't Paying For The Roads... Not By A Mile

We all tend to think of fuel taxes as our way of contributing to road upkeep. However, according to Tom Vanderbilt, drivers in the U.S. barely leave the tip. The taxes on gas would have to be raised from 20 cents a gallon to 70 cents a gallon before the people out using the roads paid for their maintenance and upkeep.

Fact #3: The Position of The Sign Tells You Where The Exit Is

Say you're driving down a four-lane highway, and you know your exit is coming up. You have your eyes peeled, and you're checking your mirrors to be sure you can slip over to the left or the right once you see it. According to Life Hacker, though, you can relax. Simply look at the position of the exit number on the highway information sign. If the exit number is aligned with the right, the exit will be on the right. If the exit number is aligned with the left, then it will be on the left. Take a breath, and enjoy the drive.

Fact #4: You Could Drive Around The World If America Straightened Its Roads

America is a big country, and with our love of the open road, we haven't been shy about paving our way from one coast to the other. However, we don't often stop to think about just how many roads we have. According to Fun Factz, the U.S. has paved enough roads to circle the Earth 150 times.

Fact #5: Stop Signs Have 8 Sides Because It's A Cheap Option

Stop signs are a common sight in the U.S., and one thing that makes them stand out is their octagonal shape. That, and the bright, fire-engine red color they tend to boast. The reason the government picked an octagon, according to My Five Best, was that it was immediately different from the squares and rectangles used for other signs and that an octagon was one of the cheapest shapes to make. Because, as you've no doubt noticed, the government knew there were going to be a lot of stop signs on the roads.

Fact #6: Our Traffic Lights Were Adapted From The Railroads

While the red, green, and yellow lights on our roads are pretty universal the world over, they weren't created for cars. The idea of signal lights was first used on railroads to prevent train collisions. The idea worked well enough that, once the technology was perfected, the signals were adopted all over the world. The original pattern was red for danger, green for caution, and white to go. However, since white could have been easily missed against a starry sky, green became go, and yellow was put in as the caution light.