Many states’ highway departments post funny messages on roadside signs that warn drivers to buckle up, slow down, or watch for emergency vehicles. Despite the fact that they’re entertaining and get the message across, the federal government isn’t in on the joke and has released new guidance on the signs, asking state agencies to cut out the funny business.
The feds say that funny signs can be distracting, though some note that drivers are more likely to notice and remember the signs when the message is memorable. Here in Maine, the messages pop up around major holidays and other times to warn drivers, with one around July 4 saying, “The only thing that should be lit is your fireworks.”
It’s understandable that the government would want to reduce confusion, and not everyone will get the sometimes-obscure pop culture messaging. That might sound ridiculous to those of us who religiously memorize lines from our favorite shows, but the references might not be so obvious to normal people.
Of course, some of the signs become a distraction on their own, as people sometimes stop to take pictures of particularly funny messages. That led some states to cut the comedy before the feds issued new guidance. Either way, we’ll miss the lighthearted signs and hope that they can make a return someday.
[Image: Maine DOT]
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