Delineator Definition and Usage
Traffic delineators are important for safely guiding traffic through confusing construction or potentially hazardous road conditions. They offer visible boundaries for areas to help delineate changes in traffic flow, alerting drivers to special road conditions like curved areas of the road, on and off ramps, and other unexpected road changes or potential safety concerns. While the term delineator can be used loosely to refer to any type of traffic delineation device from traffic cones to barrels, usually the term delineator is reserved for the taller traffic control devices with shorter diameter.
General Delineator Specifications
*To make sure you are always following the most up to date requirements when ordering your delineators, consult the MUTCD Guidelines.Delineator Colors
- The most important requirements of delineators is that they be visible at a distance in normal atmospheric conditions.
- They must be made to withstand vehicle impact and for this reason are typically made of flexible recycled plastic.
- When using Retroreflective sheeting on a delineator, the sheeting stripes should always be at least 3 inches apart.
- The color of the delineator used should match the color of the road markings.
- Additionally there are specific guidelines depending on whether you are using delineators on the right or left side of the road or marking a ramp.
Typically orange delineators are used in construction areas while yellow or white delineators are more often used for delineation traffic flow guidance. The less common colors like blue are more likely to be used in a recreation setting like delineating boundaries at a sports event because they are not as visible.
Types of Delineators
While there are many types of delineators the most common delineators are flat panel delineators, open top delineators and delineators with handles for easy pick-up. They may come with or without reflective sheeting and many delineators are stackable to save space during storage. You can find delineators that are all one piece of molded plastic and round delineators with a post that fits into a rubber base.
Placement and Spacing for Delineators
The correct spacing of delineators may vary anywhere from 20 feet to over 500 feet depending on how they are being used. Delineators on ramps and curves are typically required to be spaced closer together while longer straight stretches of road require fewer delineators. The shorter the radius of the curve, the closer the delineators need to be placed. As a general rule, delineators must be set up so that several delineators are visible at the same time to the driver. Delineators should be placed the same distance from the edge of the road as consistently as possible, unless there is an object obstructing placement. The acceptable standard is typically between 2 to 8 feet
Delineator Parts & Accessories
Delineator Posts: Sometimes the delineators and delineator posts get used interchangeably by people but a delineator post is the tallest, visible part typically made of recycled plastic.
Delineator Bases: Are rubber bottoms used to hold some delineators in place. They fit snugly around the tube portion of the delineator and can vary in weight with the heavier bases being more stable.
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