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On the sides of most highways (in the U.S. at least), there are rough treads just outside the travel lanes to snap a driver to attention if the vehicle is drifting off the road. Is there a name for these things?

EDIT (post-answer for clarification, needed the answer to find the picture)
From the U.S. Department of Transportation's webpage:

rumble strips

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I call them wake-up bumps. As you drive over them, they make a heartbeat sort of sound, or as I hear it, 'wake up, wake up'. –  cornbread ninja 麵包忍者 May 4 '12 at 1:39
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3 Answers

up vote 23 down vote accepted

Those are called rumble strips.

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Wow. How simple. Now I realize I have definitely seen/heard the phrase before. –  Jim Oct 3 '11 at 18:47
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Not that simple. I don't think I'd have gotten this one if I didn't already know it. –  Daniel Oct 3 '11 at 18:51
    
Also (at least in some regions) "Wakeup strips" or "Wakeup bumps". –  mickeyf Oct 3 '11 at 22:38
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There's another variant here in Australia (and NZ, and I'm sure in other places too), which is a set of raised paint lines on the road which will give you a rumbling sound as you drive over them. The same technique is used in transition areas from high to low speed (like a highway exit) or where two lanes of high-speed traffic will be merging, that kinda thing where you want people to be awake.

A sample can be seen here, clearly showing the raised paint goop.

They're called, logically enough, 'audible lines', and are best defined as:

...a line on a road that is made up of a series of closely spaced raised pieces of material designed to create a continuous noise or vibration if driven on by a motor vehicle

(Reg 323A, New South Wales Road Rules 2008)

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And yes, I'm off to edit Wikipedia to insert that reference too in a moment :) –  tanantish Apr 26 '12 at 22:41
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They are called SNAPs: Sonic Noise Alert Pattern.

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What's your source for this answer? In some quick googling, I found this acronym expanded as Sonic Nap Alert Pattern, so it seems there is some confusion. –  Marthaª Apr 26 '12 at 22:23
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