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A traffic island is a solid or painted object in a road that channelises traffic. It can also be a narrow strip of island between roads that intersect at an acute angle. If the island uses road markings only, without raised kerbs or other physical obstructions, it is called a painted island or (especially in the UK) ghost island. Traffic islands can be used to reduce the speed of cars driving through.
When making left turns, drivers will often drive over painted islands even though it is technically illegal. Some traffic islands may serve as refuge islands for pedestrians. Traffic islands are often used at partially blind intersections on back-streets to prevent cars from cutting a corner with potentially dangerous results, or to prevent some movements totally, for traffic safety or traffic calming reasons.
In the United Kingdom, the term island is used as a synonym for roundabout. However a traffic Island can not and should not be mistaken for a roundabout. A roundabout serves a different purpose and can be found on the link within this text.
Media related to Traffic islands at Wikimedia Commons
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