the rumble strip


Senior Member
The front tyres crossed the rumble strip, crossed the shoulder, and thumped down off the blacktop into a shallow ditch full of snow and frozen mud.
Source: 61 Hours by Lee Child
Context: As the tyres failed to bite frozen ground, the bus driver skidded and skated before thumping down into a ditch.

What does rumble mean in this context? The strip cannot make rumbling sound.

Thank you.
  • london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Strips CAN make a rumbling sound: they're made like that on purpose to act as a warning to the driver.;)

    From the Cambridge Dictionary:

    rumble strip - noun
    UK /ˈrʌm.bəl ˌstrɪp/ US /ˈrʌm.bəl ˌstrɪp/
    raised strips on a road that makes a low sound when vehicles drive over it to warn drivers to slow down or change direction because they are getting close to something


    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Here is a picture of a rumble strip. If you start to run off the road it makes a loud rumbling noise inside the car:

    And here is a detail:

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