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0 Comments | Jul 06, 2017

A New Twist on Highway Signs

One of the biggest challenges in the world of signage is making sure your message doesn’t get stale. If your intended audience stops noticing your signs, it could lead to dangerous or potentially fatal results.   In an effort to keep their highway warnings fresh and engaging, many states have been experimenting with more creative messages.

The Ohio Department of Transportation, ODOT, has been testing that very concept on its interstate highways since Thanksgiving last year. They realized that many of their messages were getting old, so they eliminated the typical, rigid messages travelers were used to seeing. They’ve been replaced by refreshing new messages that are almost fun and not what you would expect to see at all. In fact, a driver in Ohio might think that the message board was hijacked by some goofball at the office trying to be funny, but they are in fact official messages from the state.

The typical “Wear Your Seatbelt” reminder has become a much more interesting “That Seatbelt Looks Good on You.” According to one driver, that actually resulted in someone putting their seatbelt on. On Thanksgiving they posted a holiday-themed “Turkey Says Buckle Buckle”, and during the Christmas season drivers got “Santa Sees When You’re Speeding”.

There is a catch 22 when using these types of messages.  On one hand, they’re fresh and could help to increase compliance with traffic laws for at least a period of time.  If they’re too funny though, they could encourage drivers to disregard their safety and the law in an effort to snap a picture on their phones while driving. That is the exact opposite of the desired effect.  The state of Missouri discovered that first hand when their “Get Your Head out of Your Apps” message went viral.

As signage continues to evolve, it’s good to see that states and organizations are finding new creative ways to display policies and encourage compliance.  It makes you wonder what kind of messages we’ll see next.