Funny Traffic Signs
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Why funny traffic signs?
Forming good habits makes our lives safer and easier. You step back instinctually from the subway station or the curb when a train or cab approaches. You put your keys in the dish by the door. You put your groceries in the fridge. But what happens when, either bleary or preoccupied, your wires get crossed? You try to hail the subway, you put your keys in the crisper, or you leave your groceries on the roof of the car. Whether you're puzzling fellow commuters, searching frantically for your keys, or collecting scattered asparagus, you know that there are moments when you need to be intentional and conscientious about your routine.

Enter funny traffic signs. With over 200 million drivers and trillions of miles driven per year, the road is full of veteran and often-distracted drivers. Traffic signs with a funny, unexpected edge give drivers cause to look twice and think consciously about road regulations, hazards, and reminders. When drivers begin to see “STOP” as suggestion, “SLOW DOWN” as purely decorative, or “DEER CROSSING” as a mere flash of Disney nostalgia, passersby, passengers, other drivers, and innocent woodland creatures can be inconvenienced, injured, or incensed. (And hasn’t Bambi been through enough?) When obeyed, traffic signs save lives by enforcing safe driving behavior, making travel more efficient, and conveying important environmental information. 

Traffic signs perform a range of duties, but essentially their task is to give information. They alert drivers to dangers created by the environment or weather conditions (Falling Rock, Icy Road Ahead), they indicate rolex replica or provide direction (Las Vegas Exit Here, One Way) or issue prohibitions or regulations (Do Not Enter, Local Trucks Only). Although traffic signs are erected for a driver’s safety and convenience, it can still be difficult to get their attention.  Our uniform traffic signage system is a mixed blessing in that respect, making commands instantly and universally recognizable, but eventually becoming ignored or dismissed by regular drivers.

Creating uniform traffic signs was a move for the common good—before the turn of the 20th century, traffic signs were a hodgepodge of local efforts, which tended to be aimed more at convenience than safety. According to the Federal Highway Administration, it was not unusual to encounter as many as 11 different sign convention on a stretch of any given road. The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways (MUTCD) was developed in 1934, and remains (although it evolves with modern technology and infrastructure) the standard for road managers nationwide.

Funny traffic signs use the MUTCD’s universally recognizable sign templates and color schemes (the red octagonal stop, the yellow diamond crossing sign, and so on), but infuse the message with humor, making it more surprising, noticeable, and memorable. Funny signs also humanize traffic regulations—perceiving a sense of humor can discourage a driver from flouting the rules that they see as stiff and bureaucratic. While these funny traffic signs promote safety, they can also promote brand, advertising a town’s sense of humor, a household’s self-deprecating welcome, or a business’s savvy wit.

Funny Traffic Sign
Funny traffic signs help distracted drivers consciously consider road hazards, reminders, and regulations.