Deer Crossing Sign
Are Highway Warning Signs Effective?

How Well Do Driving Safety Signs Work?

A few years ago, someone wrote an irate letter to his local newspaper about the deer warning signs put up on a local highway. He couldn’t understand why they were always on busy highways. Wouldn’t it reduce accidents if the deer were told to cross smaller roads instead?

We may laugh, but the story does bring up an interesting point. Just how effective are traffic warning signs? They can be found wherever we travel, from the common “sharp curve ahead” to the more esoteric, such as the “moose warning” signs in Newfoundland. Highway safety departments consider them an important part of improving driving safety. But how well do they work?

Apparently, the answer is somewhere between “not great” and “we’re not sure.” There’s little research on the effectiveness of highway traffic signs and what there is shows that a surprising lack of effectiveness. For example, the Minnesota Department of Transportation has admitted:

“Signs that alert drivers to infrequent encounters or possible situations–such as deer crossing or children playing—do not have a consistent impact on driver behavior. Widespread use or misuse of warning signs reduces their overall effectiveness.”

Traffic and Why We Drive The Way We Drive

Tom Vanderbilt, author of Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us), says:

“[D]rivers routinely see signs warning of deer crossings (in the United States) or elephant crossings (in Sri Lanka) or Continue Reading…

Safety
June is National Safety Month

When you work in the field of safety, and so does your husband, it makes for interesting living situations. I no longer stand on a chair or stool to reach something on the top shelf. There are now ear plugs and safety goggles beside the lawn mower and weed eater in the garage. We have two fire extinguishers – one by the stove and one in the pantry. Our smoke detectors are checked twice a year from a ladder where three points of contact are maintained at all times. There is even an old Emergency Response Guidebook in my car for looking up UN numbers when I travel. Having lived this way for several years now, it surprises me when friends and family talk about near misses they have. Take heart other safety professionals, there is a month dedicated to our cause. June is National Safety Month.

The National Safety Council has outlined topics for each week of the month and even provides free downloadable resources in English and Spanish for each topic upon signup. I encourage you to do so as the resources are great. The link to the National Safety Council site can be found here. To sign up for the free materials, look to the right side of the website. Let’s take a look at each week and expand on the ideas.

This year the topics are Continue Reading…