Why Detectable Warning Strips Are Important

Black and yellow line striped background. Warning strip.

There are approximately 1.3 billion people in the world that have some type of visual impairment issue. Sometimes these conditions can easily be corrected with glasses. However, it may cause total blindness in others. The good news is, there are many tools that visually impaired people can use such as a detectable warning strip that can help them navigate through the world today.

What is a detectable warning strip?

Detectable warning strips are also known as tactile warnings and detectable warning surfaces. They have textured surfaces that help those with either limited or no vision be able to get around using a cane or their feet. They are entirely safe to walk on but the texture is in a form of bumps which allows the vision impaired population to recognize them.

Where are they found?

Sidewalk Curbs

Some warning surfaces for visually impaired people are installed along the roadside edge of the sidewalk. The purpose of these warnings is to inform visually impaired people that they are approaching a curb and are close to the street. This is important to prevent injuries and accidents from occurring.

Transit Stations

To protect visually impaired individuals, detectable warning strips are also placed alongside the platforms of subways and trains. There are other dangerous areas where these warning strips are also placed at transit stations. This prevents injuries and falls onto the tracks.

Parking Lots

There really are no separations or curbs between drivers and pedestrians in parking lots which makes it dangerous for visually impaired people. However, to prevent accidents from happening there are tactile warning surfaces in parking lots that allow visually impaired individuals to know when they are approaching cars.


Tactile warnings are also found at the ends of crosswalks. They are there to inform pedestrians that are visually impaired that they are approaching or exiting a crosswalk. They are beneficial in letting them know that they have either just left a sidewalk or they are about to approach a sidewalk. They can feel the texture changes that assist them in becoming aware of their surroundings.

These warnings benefit both businesses and communities because it lets other people know that there is a dedication to helping people with disabilities. It can also work as reminders to all drivers that they should be very careful and watch out for pedestrians. They are beneficial because they help to save lives each and every day. Individuals who have only a mild visual impairment are at a much greater risk of being involved in an accident that those without vision issues. It helps those even with severe vision loss from walking into areas that are dangerous.