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Thermal Paint Pops Out Icy Warning

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

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Dangerously icy roads in Austria have officials experimenting with painted signs that appear only when the temperature plummets.

The road markings, painted with a thermal coating, become visible when the temperature is close to freezing. The signs show a blue snowflake inside a red triangle, the Austrian Times Online News reported.

The signs are being tested on the A2 Süd Autobahn ("South Motorway"), which runs south from Vienna to the border of Italy.

Austrian road signs
Asfinag via

Austrian road officials are testing thermal paint signs that appear in freezing temperatures to warn drivers of icy conditions.

So far, the tested signs start to become visible at 4°C (39.2°F). Cameras have been set up to monitor the signs' performance and see if they have an effect on drivers.

Cheap, Effective Tool

Asfinag, the Austrian road authority, said that a difference of several degrees could occur on the same road as it winds through the mountainous areas of the country. Since temperatures can really vary on bridges, Asfinag has a special focus on those structures.

"Of course, if it's snowing, you don't see them; but then again, when it's snowing, you don't need a sign to warn you to drive carefully," Erich Putz, Asfinag spokesperson, told the Austrian Times. "The real killer is the black ice, and people who are not aware that the temperature has fallen to below freezing."

Icy Bridge

Authorities will pay special attention to how well the road signs alert drivers on bridges, where temperatures swing and surfaces freeze before roadways.

Putz said the painted signs were a cheap and effective alternative to more expensive electronic street signs.

If the signs are found to be effective, then the program will be expanded across the country, according to the Austrian Times.

Glowing Dutch Highway

In the Dutch province of Brabant, an infrastructure management group has been working on the Smart Highway, which will feature glow-in-the-dark paint to light up the roads at night and Dynamic Paint that will make road markings become visible when the temperature fluctuates.


Tagged categories: Health and safety; Outdoor weathering; Paint application; Roads/Highways

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