We actually have NASA to thank for them! And by thank, we mean really thank -- they help keep us safe. In the 1960s, NASA technicians wanted to find a way to help aircraft run smoothly over wet, slick runways. The answer was safety grooving, in which long, shallow channels were inserted into the surface of the runways or roads. Excess water flowed off the road and into these channels, leaving the surface with better friction for tires. This simple technology is now used not only on roads but also around swimming pools, animal pens and at pedestrian crossings to improve safety in wet conditions. On our highways, safety grooves have been credited with cutting down the number of accidents by 85 percent [source: NASA].
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