5 funny road signs that try to keep us safe
Let us get a little Newtonian here: For every action, there is an equal reaction is a physical law that is resonating among transportation and public safety officers nationwide these days. Upticks in accidents attributed to distracted driving are compelling local and state governments to find novel ways to quash a burgeoning trend.
Certainly, laws restricting the use of cellphones and related technologies while driving are in place across the country, but telephones are only a fraction of the distractions eroding driver, and even pedestrian, attention.
What is more, those who do honor the cellphone ban while driving, do so while tapping out drumbeats on a dashboard or handling a too-hot cup of coffee. Multi-tasking of any sort is hazardous behavior in these circumstances and no law on the books can completely eliminate the dangers for everyone.
What is a municipal or state transportation authority to do?
They turn to humor and popular-culture references in the hopes of getting people’s attention — and saving lives
Trying to keep pedestrians safe requires a sense of humor.
In Hayward, Calif., the city’s concern is pedestrians who cannot stow smart phones in order to cross streets safely. It is commonplace to see people walking while checking their phones. And it is also routine to watch people walk into doors and trip on curbs all without losing eye contact with their phone display.
Hayward, a stone’s throw from Silicon Valley where automakers are experimenting with their own approaches to the distracted driving epidemic, has turned to humorous traffic signs to catch the attention of texting pedestrians. A novel crosswalk sign reads: “Heads up! Cross the Street, then Update Facebook.” For drivers on a particularly steep street, the city offers: “Downhill: Use eyes, brakes, brains.”
A little humor can go a long way in the fight to keep drivers safe.
At the state level, Arizona’s Department of Transportation is using the resource of 200-plus overhead message boards on state highways to broadcast public service announcements on an as-needed basis.
The unconventional messaging campaign started over Thanksgiving of 2015 with “Drinking & Driving Go Together Like Peas & Guac.” The “peas and guac” refers to a controversial recipe published in The New York Times in July of 2013 that fueled an Internet storm among traditional guacamole lovers. In a states like Arizona where Mexican cuisine is a staple, such heresy is provocative, and when deployed as a PSA, it underscores the mismatch between drinking and safe driving.
This traffic campaign launched just before the Star Wars came out last fall.
A series of “Star Wars”-themed message boards followed over Christmas and New Year’s, coinciding with the debut of the latest installment of the movie franchise.
“Aggressive Driving is the Path to the Dark Side” was one of the notable “Star Wars” references. Both holiday campaigns were well received by the public and are now part of the arsenal the Arizona Department of Transportation uses to draw attention to pertinent transportation issues.
The Arizona Department of Transportation used these messages to target teens on the road during spring break