I've seen so many of these, but never really gave any thought about why they were there. Have you ever wondered what the strange metal plates at Missouri intersections are for? I learned that they could save a life.

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My wondering began when I saw this interesting conversation on the Missouri sub-Reddit. It shows the metal plate that all of us probably have walked across a million times. This is the one at a cross-street in Arnold, Missouri.

What are these called on MoDot sidewalks
byu/STEVEN-NEVETS inmissouri

They're called detectable warning plates and they are in place for the vision-impaired among us. Mainline Materials, a warning plate manufacturing company says "they alert the visually impaired that there is either a crosswalk or a walkway transition nearby".

SureWerx USA via YouTube
SureWerx USA via YouTube

These simple yet affective plates are more than just a warning device for the blind. New technology now has some of these plates which will even provide directions in some cases. Some are even different colors to warn of a traffic change or upcoming obstacle.

The practical side of these plates is they are replaceable in some cases in the event that a road or cross-walk changes. What may look like a simple grip plate to keep pedestrians from slipping into busy traffic is actually a life and death tool for the visually impaired - especially those that travel without the assistance of a guide dog.

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Gallery Credit: National Crime Information Center (NCIC), Missouri Highway Patrol

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