Driving the Noisy Roads of Texas

I drove about 360 miles yesterday, mostly on I-10 and I-20, from Fredericksburg to Fort Stockton and then to Midland, and the overriding thought that sticks with me is…”wow, what a noisy drive!”

Interstate 10 is a patchwork of road surfaces, and the newest ones are also the loudest. The material used to surface the road is so coarse that the noise from the friction with the tires is just overwhelming, especially when compared to the smooth asphalt sections that come before and after. And it makes me wonder if TxDOT or anyone else has ever studied the long term effects of such high noise levels on drivers?

I’m sure it depends to some extent on what kind of car you drive. I would expect – hope? – that a Mercedes sedan would be quieter than my pickup. I’m sure that the type of tires also affects how much noise is generated.

Regardless, after several hours of driving on rough and noisy surfaces, I felt more tired and even stressed than had I been driving on the smooth asphalt of days gone by. If all drivers are affected similarly, that must impact driver alertness and mood, and not in a positive fashion.

I realize that the new surface materials are less expensive and are said to be longer lasting, but it’s one more example of how “progress” adversely affects quality of life. But I suppose that’s what the volume knob on the satellite radio is for.

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