Authorities in Hume, a small-town suburb of Melbourne, Australia, applied a highly-abrasive coating to some of their roads this summer in an effort to cut down on various forms of vehicle “hooning,” like power-slides and burn-outs, reports The Age.
Given the relatively small police budget of the town, it’s impossible for police officers to closely monitor every roadway and hooning hot spot concurrently, so authorities turned to a novel solution that ensures aggressive drivers stick to the rules, and the road.
“If a driver attempts to drive dangerously on this type of road, it would be difficult for a driver to spin their wheels,” said Peter Waite, a town infrastructure director.
“If they did manage it, they would burn through the rubber of tires faster than on a smooth road surface.”
The coating is similar in some respects to a layer of sand-paper; it is embedded with millions of tiny bite-particles, and bonded to the road surface such that the abrasiveness, and thus the coefficient of grip of the road surface, is increased dramatically.
Intentionally spinning or sliding one’s tires on a road surface that’s been treated with the abrasive coating will literally chew away at the rubber like cheese on a cheese grater. Your tires won’t last long, and that translates to costly premature tire replacement, which, in this case, constitutes a sort of self-imposed fiscal punishment, at least as costly as a traffic fine.
Police are hoping drivers will see the dollar signs, and obey road signs.
“Normal driving speed, it’s not going to affect you, but if you’re engaging in intentionally high-risk behaviour, it would reduce the life cycle of your tire dramatically,” said Hume police inspector Anthony Brown.
“We chose sites that had high-risk driving activity, and known hoon gathering areas.”
Police are tight-lipped about which roads and paved spaces were treated with the coating, so as to keep aggressive drivers guessing, and second-guessing lurid burnouts.
An incidental benefit of the coating is an increased level of safety in the event that evasive maneuvers are required, since the increased abrasiveness and heightened grip levels will translate to shorter stopping distances, particularly on wet roads.
The specialty road coating is said to last 10 to 15 years – depending on how many tires are sacrificed upon it – before a recoat is required.