You've driven over them and so have I.

Maybe you were driving along, lost in a thought or two, and then...bump-bump-bump-bump. Darn, you ran over what's technically called 'rumble strips'. You know, those little ridges along the side of the highway or interstate that gently remind you 'Hey, pay attention!' And so, you turn the wheel just a little bit, get centered in your lane and be on your way.

I suppose I don't have to explain further why these rumble strips are there. It's to help keep you safe. Duh. But if you live in the area, particularly the Pipestone/Woodstock/Edgerton area of Minnesota (a stones throw from Sioux Falls) you may know them as Gritters Jitters...because a huge reason these are all over the United States is because of a local guy.

It was several years ago that the Pipestone County Star had a story about a former Woodstock, Minnesota resident by the name of Ed Gritters. Ed moved to California to teach school (this was way back) but in 1953 the school closed so Ed had to find a new job to feed his young family. Well, after taking classes and courses he joined the California Department of Transportation in the mid 1950's. This was the time when the Interstate highway system was picking up steam.

OK, long story short (you can read the whole story here), in the 1970's some experimental rumble strips were tested on a mile on Interstate and deemed successful. But being constructed, they were way, way expensive. And it was through Ed's idea of imprinting ridges instead of constructing them that brought the cost down from $100,000 per mile to $1,000 per mile.

Yep, I'd say that's a significant savings!

So, at least for Ed's family and the many people from around Woodstock that knew him and his family, these 'Rumble Strips' became 'Gritters Jitters'.

And yes, thanks to a former area guy, you've straightened out your drive a time or two. And undoubtedly, Ed Gritters idea has saved countless lives.

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