Can Funny Traffic Signs Save Drivers’ Lives?

Every Monday, it’s a new message. One week signs displayed “Steering wheel: not a hands-free device.” Another week, they showed “Turn signals: the original instant message.” To discourage speeding, the agency used “It’s not a race, leave some space.” …

Utah launched its effort this spring with “That seat belt looks good on you,” which is still the message that received the most positive feedback. The state only displays the safety messages on Mondays, but it also shows the year-to-date count of road deaths every Friday.

Gleason said Utah got the idea, along with some of the messages, from other states. Massachusetts, for example, got a lot of attention last year for a campaign that played off of the regional dialect, with signs such as “Changing lanes? Use yah blinkah” and “Make yah ma proud, wear yah seatbelt.”

Iowa began posting safety witticisms nearly two years ago. It’s taken inspiration from pop culture (“May the 4th be with you. Text I will not” on Star Wars Day) and used humor (“Get your head out of your apps”) to get its points across. One of the most popular messages, though, succeeded on its content and clever formatting (“Pass on left; drive on right,” with the message divided accordingly)…

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