'silent policemen' - rumble strips

Gwan

Senior Member
New Zealand, English
Hello all,
I was watching the Spanish Grand Prix today and noticed one of the (British) commentators refer to what I would call rumble strips as 'the silent policemen'. Is that a common idiom to anyone out there? (Even if you're not an F1 fan, they have rumble strips on ordinary motorways, at least where I'm from!)
Cheers!
PS boohoo for Lewis crashing out and Jenson languishing behind Michael :(
 
  • Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I'm not sure I've come across "silent policeman", but I've certainly heard "sleeping policeman" as a name for speed bumps.

    For me, rumble strips are something different - they're in a series, and designed to, well, rumble.

    Wiki articles on speed bumps and rumble strips here and here:)
     

    Cypherpunk

    Senior Member
    US, English
    I've heard silent policeman used to refer to speed tables, which are much longer and wider than speed bumps, and some can cause a severe jolt and possible vehicle damage, if you don't slow a vehicle sufficiently.

    As Loob says, rumble strips are also used on US highways, just outside the marked lanes, to get a driver's attention if they start to leave the roadway. They are also occasionally used before toll booths and particularly dangerous intersections or sections of a road.
     

    Gwan

    Senior Member
    New Zealand, English
    Thanks for your input guys :)
    You may be right, it might have been sleeping policemen and I misremembered. The F1 variety (there's a picture in my post above) are definitely rumble strips and not speed bumps (despite what Wikipedia has to say on the subject, this NZE speaker calls them speed bumps at any rate).
    Never heard the phrase before. Interesting image, presumably you're just meant to think about the policeman's role in slowing down traffic, but it does unfortunately also bring to mind running them over!
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Whether the commentator's policeman was sleeping or silent, it does sound as though he used the wrong term...;)
     
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