Find out about the different types of grooves you may encounter on the road and how to deal
with them in a safe manner.
Drivers prefer a smooth roadway, but sometimes grooves are a necessary feature on certain
roads. There are a number of reasons why a roadway would be grooved, but most explanations
involve safety. Explore all the different types of grooves you could encounter while driving and
learn how to navigate them safely.
Different Types of Grooves on the Road
Most grooves found on roads are put there purposely for safety reasons, though not all.
Different types of road grooves include:
Rumble Strips. Rumble strips are a road safety feature that are meant to alert a driver to
danger. These road grooves cause a jarring sound and a noticeable vibration when a vehicle’s
tire drives over them. They are found in a number of places on the road. They can be located on
the shoulder of the road or down the centerline to alert drivers when their vehicle is leaving
their current lane of travel. Other grooves that are considered rumble strips can be found right
across the road’s lanes of travel; they are meant to alert drivers to an upcoming feature in the
road that will require a lower speed, such as a sharp curve in a highway.
Traction Improvement Grooves. These grooves are much smaller than rumble strips, and they
do not create the noise and vibrations that rumble strips create. These grooves are meant to
improve the traction of the road when it is wet and prevent hydroplaning; the valleys created
by the grooves channel rainwater away from peaks, allowing a vehicle’s tires to have more
contact with the road’s surface and less contact with the water. These grooves can be installed
perpendicular or parallel.
Road Construction Grooves. These groves are what is left over when a roadway has been
milled—where a portion of the road’s surface pavement has been removed in preparation for
new pavement to be laid down—and it is usually found in construction zones. These grooves
are generally not uniform, and they can be interspersed with stretches of intact pavement.
Safe Handling of Driving on Grooves
The best course of action for dealing with driving over any grooves in a roadway is to slow
down. If you drive over rumble strips that are placed on the shoulder or centerline, then you’ve
left your lane of travel. You should let off the gas and slowly ease back into your lane without
jerking the wheel.
If you’re driving over traction improvement grooves, again you should slow down, especially if
it is raining! Those grooves mean the area has seen high rates of accidents from water in the
If you’re traveling over road construction grooves, then you should slow down. You should slow
down to help protect roadworkers doing their jobs and because such groves are not uniform
and your vehicle does not have optimal traction.
Tucker Paving is an asphalt and concrete paving construction company with over 25 years of
experience in the asphalt and concrete paving industry! We are well-versed in asphalt
pavement construction for a variety of applications. Contact us online, or call us at (863) 299-
2262 for help with your asphalt paving project.