by Jim Bessey
|Image from a great sign article at Writing for Designers, Geo Mason U|
We don't all use GPS. Some of us just print out the MapQuest directions, or --heaven forbid!-- use ordinary paper road maps. Maybe we don't like that metallic voice yakking in our ears like a back seat mother-in-law. So we need good signs. We need advance notice.
Those are the drivers you see in panic mode
Add my truck and camper together and I've got a 10,000-pound train that's over 40 feet long. You don't want me to have to make a sudden lane change right in front of you. Ever seen a camping trailer on its side in the median? I have, and it's not pretty.
|from Jacksonville.com article|
When you're driving or towing a large RV, the need to make sudden short-notice lane changes can be deadly. You have to trust your mirrors and the drivers around you. Nobody wants to get stuck behind you, so they pass you any way they can. What if it's pouring rain? Pray, or play it safe and miss your exit.
|from another cool sign article!|
And it's the "mile in advance" that really matters.
When drivers have plenty of time to work their way into the correct lane there's room for courtesy to work its magic. You can change lanes at speed, instead of forcing drivers behind you to hit the brakes. With room to react, most drivers are happy to let big rigs get where they need to go. Nobody wants to get crunched!
I'll bet rescue workers and the automobile insurance companies are with me on this rant. Let's do some math, in this fictional (but realistic) accounting:
- One badly-damaged full-size pick-up: $15,000
- One destroyed travel trailer: $21,000
- Value of possessions ruined in crash: $1,800
- Two other vehicles damaged by collision: $12,000
- Hospital stay for one injured motorist: $31,000
- Deployment cost for three police cars, two fire trucks, ambulance, critical care response unit, and a dozen or more first-responders -- ?? Certainly $2,000 or more.
- TOTAL: at least $80,000
I don't know how the math works for those totally cool giant-picture road signs, but I'm willing to wager that $80,000 will buy more than one. (Pennsylvania's DOT spent about $60,000 for thirty big road signs in this story from 2009.) And if better signage can save just ONE life, what's that worth?
How about you? Do you have any pictures of almost-worthless highway signage? Send me you photo and I'll publish it here. You can reach me via Comments or by using the link at the top of this page.