Unless you are Buddy the Elf or a small child, escalators are probably not your favourite thing.
Let’s face it, you don’t have to look hard to find numerous clips online of people falling on the stairs as they try to get off or an even scarier scenario of an escalator appearing to swallow someone up through a large hole.
Unbeknownst to the public though, escalators are actually designed with tons of safety features to help us go about our day.
I bet you've never thought about what those grooves on the step are for until now.
People might believe that they are there to help with grip and ensure that customers in the local shopping centre don’t fall when travelling on the escalator.
Whilst it can help with this, they exist for a surprising reason and it’s actually more important than you’d think.
As the steps travel towards the top, the grooves actually sync up with a comb plate and lock in as they slide through.
This prevents anything from becoming trapped between the stairs and the floor – which could cause the escalator to break down.
Whilst it's not foolproof, it is one of many weird design features that most of us wouldn’t even know about.
If that weren’t impressive enough, grooves also act as a place for liquids to pool meaning that no one ends up falling due to the wet floor, The Reader's Digest says.
However, there’s another hidden design feature which also protects you on an escalator – the nylon bristles.
You’ll see these ‘safety brushes’ on virtually every escalator in the world, but there’s a pretty scary reason why they exist.
Much like the grooves, they were designed to keep things from getting caught between the moving stairs and the balustrade skirt.
If they weren't there, there would be a high chance of your clothes getting stuck in the moving escalator – which could result in an either embarrassing or dangerous incident.
Cleverly, the brushes also act as a psychological deterrent too.
When the passenger feels a brush moving against their leg or clothing they will instinctively move it away preventing it from getting snagged on the escalator.
Whilst this might not make them any less scary for little kids or fictional elves, the brushes were deemed so important that they were mandatory in 2004.
According to British and European standard BS EN115-1:1995, the requirement of fitting the ‘skirt deflectors’ or ‘escalator brushes’ reduces the likelihood of getting stuck by lessening the likelihood of items entering the gap between the steps and skirt by obstruction.
The more you know, eh?