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Speeding is a major part of driving. Many drivers hate when people speed, while others buy certain cars only to be able to speed harder and faster. Small towns and residential streets often go to some extreme measures to discourage speeding, but we’ve never seen anything quite like what this small French village did. Instead of speed bumps, speed cameras, or other such deterrents, the village used the road lines to confuse drivers to nearly a halt. 

How to stop someone from speeding? 

A New York police officer writes a ticket for speeding.
Speeding tickets can get very expensive | Mike Albans/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

Humans are funny animals. We tend to complicate things in a way that not only doesn’t actually work but also makes everyone upset. The fact is, we like knowing what we are supposed to be doing, whether we choose to do it or not. The small French village of Bauné in Western France, only an hour from the legendary Le Mans, decided to scribble the white lines directing where traffic should be. Without designated lanes, drivers aren’t sure where they should be or where other drivers should be. This is alarming and causes drivers to slow down in order to figure out the traffic rules. 

Before the modern art road design, villagers complained of passers-through ripping through town at double the posted speed limit. 

“There are 2,300 vehicles per day, and many speed excessively here, just like in all other rural villages in France,” Grégoire Jauneault, the deputy mayor of Loire-Authion, told TFI Info. “Drivers don’t respect the highway code, so we had to make other arrangements.” 

Can confusing drivers actually stop speeding? 

The town paid $5,340 to paint the extra squiggly road lines. While it isn’t the most beautiful thing to see, the lines grab drivers’ attention and make them slow down. Seeing as how safety is the reason for painting the lines in the first place, the town used a special non-slip material to paint the lines so cars and bikes don’t lose traction in the rain. 

One driver mentioned that the lines were so confusing that he had to slow down to figure out where he needed to be. Another driver said that the lines worked at first, but now that she knows the road, she is back to driving at her normal speed. Basically, these two interviewees prove that for people out of town, the lines are a success. However, for locals, the lines’ novelty can wear off quickly. Other criticisms say that drivers might get too confused by the lines. Some called the lines downright stupid and dangerous. 

Is it safe to drive in France?

The lines didn’t pop up for fun. France is seeing a rise in injuries and deaths on the roadways. Efforts like the lines are only meant to make driving in France safer. As it stands, there isn’t data outside of anecdotal evidence to suggest that the lines are actually keeping people safer. 

In the meantime, the lines are a fascinating study of how we behave. Simply drawing squiggly lines is causing some drivers to slow down. That feels like an intimate insight into who we are and how we work.