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Can one change cut down on distracted driving accidents?

On Behalf of | Jan 30, 2024 | Personal Injury |

Roads in Maryland can be hazardous in a variety of ways, and taking all reasonable measures to increase road safety is essential. Some safety measures can be major, while others consist of minor tweaks. But every little bit helps.

The Federal Highway Administration has taken the step of discouraging states from displaying humorous messages on electronic signs above highways. While these messages have been popular, the FHA links them with increased risk of car accidents.

Humorous messages rise in popularity

In recent years, states across the US are increasingly displaying humorous or quirky messages on the electronic signs above their highways. These messages tend to impart some safety related wisdom aimed at decreasing auto accidents.

Some notable examples include “Visiting in-laws? Slow down, get there late” and “Hands on the wheel, not your meal.” These messages were intended to catch drivers’ attention with comedy while trying to put vehicular safety in the forefront of their minds. Others make pop cultural references to provide safety instruction or reminders.

These messages might be counterproductive

The FHA now discourages these types of messages in favor of more utilitarian safety related messages. While they approve of content like reminders about speeding, texting or mobile device usage, they recommend simple, short and clear text without humor or references.

The humorous signs are enjoyable for drivers, but they also take more mental attention to process, and can cause drivers to think more about the humor or reference than they do about the message itself. The extra thought is taking attention away from the road, which can lead to the very driving mishaps and accidents that the signs are intended to prevent.